RONNY DEILA was a visitor to Celtic Park back in November 2013 when Neil Lennon’s 10-man side – Scott Brown was dismissed in the first half for a swipe at Neymar – were beaten 1-0 by Barcelona with Cesc Fabergas getting the only goal.
It is an experience that left a considerable mark on the Norwegian.
The Hoops host Qarabag in midweek and it is the awesome possibility of hosting Europe’s elite on home soil that has Deila itching to reach the prestigious company of the group stages of the tournament.
Deila admitted: “I dream of a lot of great stadiums in Europe. I haven’t been to so many!
“You have the English teams and Spanish teams, Bayern Munich, a lot of really good teams, it would be great to go to these places with Celtic.
“But it is more fun to be here at Celtic Park than to be at the Nou Camp. Of course, it’s fun to go there – but better to bring Barcelona here, to our ground.
“Why? Because here we have something that is special, the atmosphere – you feel you are part of something bigger.
“I came over for the Barcelona game, when Celtic lost 1-0. It was unbelievable. I had never seen anything like it.”
Deila believes that for Celtic to make it into the Champions League play-off round, his side must produce a high level of football.
He continued: “I know we can do it. But I know we need to be on top form to get through.
“Everybody is looking differently at it, within the club. We have an analysis team and John Kennedy is in charge of that, so he’s watching more than us.
“But then we all sit and discuss things, build up a very, very concrete match plan by the time we get to Wednesday.”
And Deila added: “There are not many teams around Europe who are in maybe not-so-good leagues, but they have a rich owner or a good team.
“Here, we’re talking about a team with Spanish players, two Brazilians. So they have money to invest in the team.
“It’s not enough just to look at the country they’re coming from. You have to look at what kind of team they are.
“It is not possible to get more pressure than what you put on yourself. This is what you want, but you have to always be honest in the situation. If you give out your best and you lose then okay, you have done what you can.
“But if you play badly and lose, that is the worst thing. What we want is to be at our best.
“If we can do that, then I think we have a very good chance to win and that motivates me. That is what will be important going into the game.”