Juventus prepare for lion’s den in Glasgow

LONDON – Juventus will enter the “lion’s den” on Tuesday when they take on a Celtic side flying the flag for Scottish football.
Juventus defender Andrea Barzagli (left) says his side will not be intimidated by Celtic and the Parkhead equaliser. Net photo.
Juventus defender Andrea Barzagli (left) says his side will not be intimidated by Celtic and the Parkhead equaliser. Net photo.

Round of 16: 1st Leg:
Today
Celtic      vs  Juventus 21:00 SS3
Valencia  vs  PSG    21:00 SS5

LONDON – Juventus will enter the “lion’s den” on Tuesday when they take on a Celtic side flying the flag for Scottish football.

The Champions League last-16 first-leg tie in Glasgow is the fifth meeting between the proud old clubs and the first since 2001 when Celtic pulled off a shock.

Celtic, the lone Scottish rangers in the competition this season, beat Barcelona on a memorable night in Glasgow in the group phase and any disparity in the quality of the squads will be bridged by the roars of nearly 60,000 Glaswegians.

While the national team languishes bottom of their World Cup qualifying group and the Scottish Premier League is still reeling from the demotion of bankrupt giants Rangers, Celtic’s run to the knockout rounds for the first time in five seasons has been nothing short of remarkable.

Barca midfielder Xavier described a packed Celtic Park as a “marvel” following his side’s 2-1 defeat in November and former Juventus great Pavel Nedved knows what awaits the Serie A champions this week.

“I’m fully aware of the atmosphere that awaits us in Glasgow because I’ve been there and experienced it first hand,” Nedved, now a Juve director, said.

“We’ll be stepping into a lion’s den and I don’t think the team will need firing up. We’ll have to tough it out.”

Celtic manager Neil Lennon made 10 changes when his league leaders warmed up for the visit of Juve with a 3-1 victory at Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Saturday.

Ever since the draw for the last 16 was made, all eyes have been on February 12 and the Northern Irishman said the crowd would play a huge part.

“The players rested have been in great form for what will be a titanic game,” he told the Glasgow Herald. “I’m always optimistic going into games and the crowd will play a huge part.

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