Celtic scored an astonishing 2-1 win over Barcelona in a rocking Celtic Park just a day after the club celebrated its 125th birthday. The momentous win is a career highlight for manager, Neil Lennon, and it provides good cheer for Scottish football which is facing troubled times just now.
The intelligent and tenacious play of the Celtic player’s overcame the typically elegant and flowing Barcelona team who dominated possession throughout the game, with goals from midfielder Victor Wanyama and 18-year-old Tony Watt, a £50,000 signing from Airdrie. Barcelona star Lionel Messi scored a rebound goal in the late stages of the game, but Celtic won through with character and verve.
The Barcelona team remains confident about their chances for Champions League glory and Messi commented that “We are still in first place and we are relaxed. I think we did everything well, we got into goal scoring positions but the ball just didn’t go in. They were comfortable closing ranks in defence, waiting for a chance to counterattack, a corner or a free-kick and that’s how they managed to score the two goals”. The Barcelona team were gracious in defeat, with Xavi impressed by the Celtic fans’ passionate support, saying “It’s a marvel, an example”. The Celtic victory ends Barcelona’s run of 17 away games in the Champions League group stage without defeat. They were last beaten at Chelsea way back in 2006.
Celtic are now in second position in the UEFA Champions League Group G Table with 7 points, just 2 points behind Barcelona. Celtic’s next match on 20 November is with Portuguese team Benfica who are third in the table on 4 points, followed by a final match with Spartak Moscow, last placed on 3 points, on 5 December.
Despite their strong showing, both at the recent game Barcelona where they received praise for a strong performance, and at Celtic Park, the Glasgow team remains well and truly in underdog status to win the Champions League. Bookmaker Ladbrokes offers odds of 100/1 that Celtic will lift the Champions League trophy but the Scottish champions are now best odds of only 2/5 with Skybet to qualify for the last sixteen . Barcelona remain favourites to win the Champions League at odds of 11/4 from Bwin but can no longer be viewed as invincible. Football is full of surprises and the confidence boost of a win against the Barcelona titans cannot be underestimated when considering how far Celtic can progress in the tournament this season.
Celtic Manager, Neil Lennon, naturally delighted with the result commented . “Coming into the tournament we wanted to gain respect for the players, for the club and obviously for Scottish football as well” he said. “I hope we have given the game here a huge boost. It has been a bit of a lull but we have a great club here”.