CHRIS SUTTON insists Celtic can give Europan champions Real Madrid “a bloody nose” at Parkhead tomorrow night.
The scene is being set for another extraordinary encounter under the lights in the east end of Glasgow as Carlo Ancelotti’s All-Stars provide the opposition in the opening match of Group F in Europe’s elite competition.
It will be another eventful evening for the Hoops when they step onto the lucrative tightrope and Ange Postecoglou and his players know there is not a safety net in sight.
DUG-OUT DELIGHT…Ange Posetcoglou celebrates Celtic’s second goal against the Ibrox side with John Kennedy, Gavin Strachan and substitute Mortiz Jenz about to join in . Coach Steve Woods looks slightly distracted from his paper work.
Exciting? Or Excruciating? It will be a confrontation to test the nerve and resolve of the champions and one-time England international Sutton reckons his old club will not change the whirlwind style that saw them sweep Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Ibrox visitors aside in a 4-0 thumping at the weekend.
The Govan club never recovered from the lightning thrusts in the opening 45 minutes that saw Liel Abada, with a double, and Filipe Jota, with another breathtaking piece of pace and impudence, fire the home side to a three-goal advantage.
David Turnbull brought down the curtain at a rocking stadium with an opportunists’s effort 12 minutes from the end as the title winners extended their lead at the Premiership pinnacle to five points with only six games played.
The club’s former striking great said: “Ange Postecoglou is a pure footballing coach and his high-risk approach won’t be out of place in the Champions League.
“The Celtic manager is determined to do it his way and why shouldn’t he? Has he not earned the right to do so?
GLASGOW BELONGS TO ME…Liel Abada, with a little help from Matt O’Riley, celebrates his second goal with the Celtic legions at the weekend.
“And, anyway, it makes no sense for a manager to coach players for an entire season to play one way and then ask them to rip it up and do something the opposite on the biggest stage of the lot.
“Celtic build from the back, they take risks. It’s the same approach as Pep Guardiola and Manchester City. Obviously, Guardiola has a higher standard of player at his disposal, but this young team of Postecoglou’s are having great success with it and I fully believe they can give Real Madrid a bloody nose by going at it in this manner.
“I’ve got to say, this Celtic team under Postecoglou are a great watch. They are so fast and fluid and some of the football is a joy.
“I’m well aware there’s more than one way to get the job done. I recall Neil Lennon’s team beating Barcelona a decade ago with barely any possession. That was a hang-in-the-game backs-to-the-wall job.
“Postecoglou won’t be doing that. He’s said as much. Celtic have every right to have a go at the European champions and they’ll be confident about it after the way they steamrollered Rangers.”
HAIL, HAIL…Filipe Jota accepts the acclaim of thousands after his eye-catching goal.
Sutton, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “All I’ll say is that, when that system and style of Postecoglou’s is working on full throttle, there’s not a lot some teams can do about it and that clearly includes Rangers.
“In football these days, one of the biggest deciders in any game is whether one team’s press is better than the opponent’s build up. We got Celtic’s answer at the weekend in terms of Rangers and that’s going to be the biggest aspect of their Real game.
“Celtic got past Rangers easily, but will they get beyond Real if the Spaniards try it? I actually suspect they won’t. I suspect they will be wily and sit a bit deeper as they did against Liverpool in last year’s Final.
“If they do, Celtic are going to have to be ready for when it’s nicked off them. As shown in transitions in Europe last season, if you play the high-risk Postecoglou way and misplace a pass, you can get sliced through with one ball from the opposition.
“Real, as we all know, have that quality.”
THAT’S MY BHOY…Joe Hart has a hug for Josip Juranovic – both have crucial roles to play against the European champions at Parkhead.
Sutton added: “If Greg Taylor and Josip Juranovic have emptied their full-back positions to play inverted and possession is lost, Celtic will need a structure to ensure they can recover quickly and not to be exposed to a Vinicius Junior running clean through them.
“But that’s the challenge. Don’t make mistakes. Test yourself to be clean with your work and play with intensity.
“Real might be better than Celtic, but they can’t coast. They can’t turn up and stroll around. Celtic WILL outrun them, I’m sure.
“If Postecoglou’s team gets it wrong, they could be open to being picked off at will. If they get it right, however, they can engineer a famous win.
“It’s high risk for ultimate reward. And it’s going to be an incredible watch.”