/ Soccer

Celtic boss Neil Lennon hopes for heroics in Barcelona

Updated: Tuesday, 23 Oct 2012 08:12 | Comments

Celtic will have to be at their very best if they are to get anything from Barcelona
Celtic will have to be at their very best if they are to get anything from Barcelona

Neil Lennon wants to see a squad full of heroes when Celtic take on Barcelona in their Champions League clash at the Nou Camp tonight.

Lennon drew twice as a Celtic player in the Catalan capital, the first time in March, 2004 when 19-year-old keeper David Marshall and fellow youngster John Kennedy made their names in the goalless draw.

The following year striker John Hartson scored in the 1-1 draw which gave the Hoops their first Champions League away point.

Tonight's task maybe even more difficult for the visitors as they face a side which ranks with the best club sides ever, but the Celtic boss said: "I am hoping there will be 11 or 14 heroes tonight, not just one.

"Players have already made their name in this competition and I am hoping a few more do it tonight.

"We have to be compact and play with a great intensity but what we do have is pace, good technical ability and we come off a great performance at the weekend.

"We are in a good place at the minute. We are hoping that the bubble doesn't burst but if it does then we can pick ourselves up very quickly.

"But it is a good challenge for the players and one that they should embrace."

Barca's superstars have not lost a game in La Liga or the Champions League this season and sit top of Group G with maximum points after two games.

However, at the pre-match press conference at the Nou Camp coach Tito Vilanova was quizzed repeatedly about the defensive crisis he has on his hands with Gerard Pique joining Daniel Alves, Carles Puyol and Eric Abidal on the sidelines while midfielder Sergio Busquets is suspended.

After conceding four goals in a 5-4 win over Deportivo La Coruna at the weekend, midfielders Alex Song and Javier Mascherano look set to form a makeshift central defence again.

Vilanova tried to play down the significance of his injuries but admitted concerns about Celtic, especially in light of their 3-2 win over Spartak Moscow in Russia earlier in the month.

"Injuries are normally a headache for a coach but we have got what we have got," he said.

"All Champions League games are complicated and I am worried because Celtic are very fast up front and they proved it against Spartak.

"They play good, counter-attacking football so we know they are dangerous.

"They are also good in the air and so I am really worried about that.

"Celtic tied with Benfica and beat Spartak in Moscow which was a good thing for them.

"At the beginning people maybe did not take into account of the possibility of Celtic going through but with four points from two games and two games at home to go, they have a chance."

User contributions and/or comments do not, unless specifically stated, represent the views of RTÉ.ie or RTÉ.
Click here for Terms of use
Live!