Alan Brazil: Celtic won’t suffer a repeat of Barcelona drubbing against Manchester City

Celtic suffered a heavy defeat in Barcelona (David Ramos/Getty Images)
Celtic suffered a heavy defeat in Barcelona (David Ramos/Getty Images)

CELTIC fans don’t have to worry about another Champions League drubbing this week.

Manchester City are currently the best team in England. But they’re not yet as good as Barcelona.

In my opinion, there’s no way they will put five, six or seven past the Scottish Champions at Parkhead on Wednesday.

And that will be really important for Brendan Rodgers.

He doesn’t relish a defeat at any time but this game sees him facing the full glare of English football – the place where he made his reputation as a manager.

I don’t give Celtic a massive chance of beating City but there won’t be a repeat of the 7-0 drubbing they suffered at the Nou Camp.

Brendan Rodgers’ side will need the usual astonishing Champions League atmosphere and also a lot of patience from the supporters.

Celtic fans are steeped in the tradition of their favourites playing attacking football, especially at home.

But against a team like City – who are something special in the forward areas – their best hope is to flood the midfield and produce a really stuffy performance.

If Celtic can contain the opposition through strength in numbers and stop their pattern of play then it could be very interesting.

They might get a thumping down in Manchester but I can’t see it happening in Glasgow.

That’s a huge compliment to the unique setting that is Celtic Park on a European night.

They will be facing a side masterminded by a remarkable figure in Pep Guardiola.

I’ve always been a fan of the Spaniard but it’s fascinating to watch the way he has already transformed some players at the Etihad Stadium.

He is a master tactician and places huge demands on his players.

As soon as his team loses the ball, he wants it back within 15 seconds.

He’s also a realist. I think he knows his squad is still behind Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.

Will he rest a couple of players for the trip north? I don’t know. But there is no danger of any complacency from Guardiola.

I’m sure that most football fans in Scotland look at the English Premier League and know it’s much stronger, much faster and slicker than the game they watch every week.

That means the Celtic supporters have to go to this cross-border clash with an open mind about how their team will play.

If they allow creative players like Kevin De Bruyne time on the ball then the home defence will be ripped apart.

The first 25 minutes will be absolutely vital for Celtic.

If they can keep the opposition at bay for that length of time, then who knows what might happen.

Brendan Rodgers can’t belittle his side by saying the financial gulf between their leagues gives them little chance of a victory.

He will have to emphasise it’s a one-off occasion and that Celtic have risen to the challenge many times previously during their history.

It’s the chance for another great European night to enter club folklore.


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