Making the great leap between playing Scottish Premiership teams and the likes of Inter Milan will always be a challenge for Celtic. We have done so many times in recent years, Milan were held home and away in the Champions League knock-out stage, Barcelona were beaten, but whenever we have carried the game to opponents of this stature, instead of reverting to our own style of catnenaccio, we’ve lost heavily. Quicker, more skilful, players, could make us look statuesque by comparison.
This is not a criticism. If the only way you can compete with a team with ten times your resources is to defend your 18 yard line, you should do so.
Things could have gone either way on Thursday. We were defensively inept during the opening minutes as Inter found space goal-side of their markers. I don’t know if Ronny had a moment of self-doubt at that point, perhaps he did, but was simply unable to unwind the attacking instincts of his players, but Celtic are all the better for the way they picked themselves off the floor.
I’m sure the odds on Inter progressing will be short, but I’m also sure Ronny Deila will know his players can win in Milan.
I arrived home late last night to read that Tony Conway, son of our own RWE, lost his battle against Motor Neurone Disease/ALS. I met Tony, with dad John and brother Martin, three years ago. Tony was still fit enough to walk, but evidence of the pain the family shared was evident. The three of them travelled back from their US home two years ago, along with mum Pauline, to see Celtic, and meet some family.
They bought hospitality tickets and minutes before kick-off, Celtic’s Iain Jamieson nabbed Tony and asked if he was able to make the halftime draw. Tony knew this would be the last time he would see Celtic, so his journey up the tunnel and onto the park was, to put it mildly, a very special Celtic Park moment.