CAMERON CARTER-VICKERS insists it will be EASIER for Celtic against Lazio in Rome tomorrow night that it was in the 1-1 stalemate with Motherwell in Glasgow on Saturday.
The USA World Cup centre-back is convinced there will be a lot more space for his team-mates to show their qualities in the Olimpico Stadium than there was at Parkhead against a defence-dominated Fir Park line-up who had a game-plan to frustrate the champions.
It was a dismal afternoon as Brendan Rodgers’ side toiled to break down their rivals and had to be content with just one goal to show for their efforts – a penalty-kick from David Turnbull in the 86th minute.
That spot-kick success followed a miss from Luis Palma 20 minutes earlier with an effort that was pushed away by keeper Liam Kelly at his right-hand post.
A BIG HAND…Cameron Carter-Vickers is hoping to applaud his Celtic team-mates in Rome tomorrow night.
Adding to a disappointing encounter, some sloppy defending from the hosts allowed Well to claim a 90th-minute equaliser when Jon Abika bundled in a left-wing corner-kick.
However, Carter-Vickers is certain the Hoops will get the opportunity to strut their stuff in their Champions League Group E confrontation against opponents who sneaked a stoppage-time win at Parkhead early last month.
The £6million recruit from Spurs in the summer of 2022 said: “When a team presses you it’s completely different, there is more space for our forwards and our midfield players to try to get in behind. It’s almost easier to create chances.
“On the flip side of that, we know that the defence will be under a bit more pressure than we were against Motherwell and it’s a different game. It is difficult any time a team puts 11 men behind the ball for most of the game because it’s hard to break them down.
“To be fair to them, they worked hard in their shape and they got a lot of blocks and clearances in with the back five. So, it was difficult, but from our point of view we had them where we wanted them for large parts.
“I think it just needs a bit more quality in and around their box.”
PARADISE LOST…Cameron Carter-Vickers (extreme left) looks on in dismay as Jon Abika forces in Motherwell’s late equaliser at Parkhead.
Carter-Vickers, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “You have to concentrate always. Even in a game like Motherwell, I know they didn’t have much, but a lot of the time we defended with half the pitch behind us so you have to concentrate.
“In the Champions League, we are playing against some top quality players and we need to be ready for that.
“To be fair, barring 70 minutes of the game when we were down to 10 men in Madrid, I think we have shown that we can compete at that level. We would probably have wanted results to be a bit better and it’s fine margins at that level we need to get better at.
“But, like I said, barring that spell [against Atletico]I think we have shown that we can compete. We know that we can compete and now we need to show that.
“It’s just fine margins. When you play against quality players, certainly in terms of their attacking players, if you give them half a chance they take it.
“You probably don’t get as many clear-cut chances and when you do get one you have to take it.”