I don’t subscribe to the ‘Nothing to lose’ lobby, who seem to think underdogs can play free from the burden of having to win. Let me remind you where this Celtic team have come from…..
Celtic came through two qualifying rounds to reach the Champions League group stage, as bottom seed. The collected 10 points in six incredibly tight games to finish above Benfica and Spartak Moscow to reach the knock out stage, losing only twice.
The margin between success (first or second place) and failure (bottom) was incredibly tight. We are now 10 games into our European campaign and in the knock out stage for the first time in five years. For Celtic, these opportunities are few and far between.
The team with nothing to lose is Juventus. They are Italian champions and will be so again this year. Their major competitors, Inter and Milan, occupy fourth and fifth place in the league respectively. Napoli are the only team within 9 points of the top and they only won the league when Diego was strutting his stuff.
Juventus will be in the Champions League group stage next season and will be seeded to qualify for the knock out stage. It could easily be the quarter finals before they face another tier-one side. In other words, if Juve lost this tie, there will soon be another chance.
No one in the Celtic team knows if they will have another opportunity to reach deep inside the Champions League.
Nothing to lose? For Forster, Matthews, Hooper, Lustig, Samaras, Commons, Wanyama and Mulgew, this is the greatest chance of their professional lives. Win it and they become celebrated across Europe. They before more valuable professionals, likely to earn bigger contracts in the future. They have everything to lose.
On Friday 1 March the Lisbon Lions will be at the Kerrydale Suite providing commentary and answering questions on their magnificent European Cup final win in 1967. This has never happened in 46 years since that game, to say it is a unique opportunity fails to tell the whole story.
The event is part of our 125 4 125 campaign – central to reinvigorating the charitable spirit which is part of the club we love. It will be a family occasions, tickets are available at £10 for adults and £5 for children. The night has been organised by several fans working in conjunction with the people at Celtic Charity, so please do your best to support this great occasion. Individual tickets or tables are available, details here.
I’ll see you there.
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