Can Celtic pull off yet another upset in the Champions League? They were written off as soon as the group draw was made but Neil Lennon’s side produced some stunning performances to get to this stage. The Hoops showed their fight by earning a draw in the Nou Camp and then took the biggest scalp of them all, beating Barcelona 2-1 in Celtic Park.
Now the knock-out round is upon us and Celtic face a Juventus side who have never won in Glasgow. Saying that they’ve only played there twice in 1981 and 2001 so that probably isn’t as great as it sounds. Still fingers crossed Celtic can get a result tonight and set up a mouth-watering second leg in Turin.
FULL-TIME: Celtic 0-3 Juventus
That could well be that. Celtic played probably there best 45 minutes of Champions League football this year in the first half but went into the break 1-0 down. Matri put Juventus ahead after just three minutes thanks to some very sloppy defending. The Hoops continued to attack in the second half but two goals in five minutes killed this tie. Juventus soaked up the pressure and took the chances that Celtic handed to them.
There will be complaints about some of the pushing and shoving from corners but that won’t change the scoreline. It will be nothing short of a miracle if Celtic turn this tie around in Turin.
9.38pm: We’re into the last minute of a very tough night for Celtic fans.
9.35pm: Only added time remains at Celtic Park. Rami got a goal back for Valencia which should make it interesting in Paris.
9.31pm: Goodnight Vienna?
You have to hand it to Juventus. They have been clinical. Seized upon any mistake or weakness that Celtic have showed. 3-0 harsh for Celtic
— James D. (@JDTIPS) February 12, 2013
Curtains! 3-0. Did feel with the pace they played at from the start, it was not maintainable for the duration of a game.
— Joseph Barton (@Joey7Barton) February 12, 2013
9.28: GOAL! It has just got worse. Ambrose has his pockets picked and Vucinic keeps a cool head to slide it past the keeper and probably end Celtic’s Champions League journey. Game set and match it appears. Not even the most optimistic Hoops fan could see Celtic scoring four in Turin.
9.26pm: Not a good night for Celtic…
Gutted. Celtic deserve so much more. They have been outstanding. Particularly annoying having witnessed so many dirty tricks by the Italians
— michael owen (@themichaelowen) February 12, 2013
Celtic should have had four penalties. And that's letting Juventus off lightly.
— Tom (@FourFourTom) February 12, 2013
9.25pm: Scott Brown makes way for Kayal and Matri heads to the bench as Paul Pogba replaces him for Juve.
9.22pm: GOAL! Game over? Marchisio is played in and he drops a shoulder to turn inside Celtic captain Scott Brown before powering a shot past Forster who can’t keep it out. Is that too much for Celtic to come back from?
9.21pm: Celtic have a corner so it is no surprise that Scott Brown and Padoin go into the book. Yellow cards for both men as the wrestling continues. Fair to say the Italians have got away with too many of those tonight.
9.18pm: Kris Commons is coming off for Celtic and on comes Tony Watt. The 19-year-old who scored the winner against Barcelona enters the fray #Believe
9.16pm: That one wasn’t great either. It is bread and butter for Buffon.
9.15pm: This time it is Scott Brown who has a wrestling match with Lichtsteiner. Both men go down but the referee isn’t interested. The corner was terrible but Celtic have another.
9.14pm: More than 20 minutes to go and Celtic have a corner. Keep your eyes on the pushing folks!
9.11pm: It is 19/1 for Celtic to win 2-1. The draw is trading in-running at 7/2 as Celtic take a breather and Juventus come forward for the first time this half.
9.08pm: That is a golden chance for Celtic. Ambrose has a free header six yards out but powers it straight in to the floor and it bounces harmlessly into the arms of Buffon. Ambrose had two or three yards of space and plenty of time to judge that header, he really should have done better.
9.04pm: Lustig comes off for Celtic and Adam Matthews is on in his place.
9.00pm: Plenty of pressure being applied by Celtic and plenty of pressure on the referee. He is getting a truck-load of abuse every time a decision goes against the home side after the way he dealt with the penalty appeal in the first half. Celtic really need something to go for them tonight.
8.59pm: Arguably Celtic’s best Champions League performance of the season tonight. Another cross comes in and the delivery is good but Juventus clear their lines. Here comes another wave of green and white.
8.53pm: The opening three minutes of the second half have been exactly like most of the first half. It is all Celtic. Wave after wave of pressure from the Hoops but nothing to show for their good performance yet. It is 4/1 for the game to end 1-1 if you’re betting in-running.
8.48pm: The players are back out for the second half. Anyone backing Celtic to get anything out of this?
8.38pm: Here’s the updated odds for you folks. Celtic are 9/1, Juventus 3/10 and the draw is 7/2.
8.34pm: Celtic played well but it is Juventus that have a crucial lead after a pulsating first half. In great news for punters the Dubious Goals Committee at Power Tower have paid out on both Matri and Marchisio to score first after that earlier confusion. Hooray!
8.33pm: Half-time: Celtic 0-1 Juventus
8.31pm: Serial bench warmer and winner of the ‘worst punch thrown in the Premier League’, Michael Owen, sums the game up quite well…
So impressed with Celtic. All over Juve like a rash, not giving them a minute on the ball. Unlucky to be behind.
— michael owen (@themichaelowen) February 12, 2013
8.29pm: Andrea Pirlo just got caught late by James Forrest and the Celtic man goes into the book.
8.27pm: Kris Commons swivels and shoots but again it is straight down the throat of Buffon. Another well hit shot, but not for the first time it is too easy for the Juventus shot-stopper.
8.25pm: From the corner Wilson heads over the bar. Seven minutes until it’s time for oranges.
8.23pm: A Celtic corner and there is plenty of pushing and shoving between Gary Hooper and Lichtsteiner. The ref puts both of them in the book but that could very easily have been a penalty. Hooper was getting a a little more than roughed up.
8.18pm: Juve not getting an easy ride at all tonight. The out-spoken Joey Barton doesn’t back Celtic to keep it going at this rate of knots…
Celtic taking the game to Juve here. Doubt they can maintain this tempo for 90 mins. Need a lead to take to Turin, to have a chance
— Joseph Barton (@Joey7Barton) February 12, 2013
8.16pm: That wasn’t far away for Celtic! Kris Commons hits a spectacular bicycle kick inches wide. Fantastic effort but no joy unfortunately.
8.15pm: Andrea Pirlo is brilliant. Here at the Paddy Power Blog we have a huge crush on that lad. Maybe it’s his effortless style of play or his ability to put a 50 yard pass on a sixpence. Maybe it is his brilliant facial hair. Maybe it is because he looks like the kind of guy who would hold the door open for girls. Whatever it is we have a serious man-crush on him.
8.11pm: Handbags at dawn! Scott Brown has Andrea Pirlo rattled. The Celtic midfielder is giving the Italian no time or space and has crunched him a few times. Pirlo responds by playing a delightful ball forward which almost splits the Hoops open again. Sexy football from Pirlo.
8.10pm: Celtic are 17/2 in-running to win here. The draw is 7/2.
8.05pm: Juventus definitely on the back foot here. Celtic fans will be frustrated that they gave away such a soft goal because they have played superbly. Just a shame that Efe Ambrose was about as flimsy as an undercooked pancake earlier on.
8.02pm: In better news from Celtic they are looking threatening going forward. At times this year in the Champions League the Hoops have looked as dangerous as a newly-born kitten but not tonight. They’ve already had seven efforts on goal, Kris Commons is the latest to hit a volley over the bar.
8.00pm: OptaJoe has some bad news for Celtic fans…
4 – Juventus were one of four teams to remain unbeaten during the Champions League group stages this season. Ominous.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 12, 2013
7.58pm: Meanwhile in Spain PSG have taken the lead through Lavezzi.
7.55pm: Marchisio gets to the back post again and sliding in almost makes it 2-0. His volley is high and wide but the worrying thing for Neil Lennon is how easily Celtic were cut open again.
7.53pm: Wanyama drills a shot from range and it’s hit well but Buffon is equal to it. The veteran keeper gets down quickly and holds on to the ball.
7.51pm: GOAL! Celtic Park is silenced. It is a soft goal for Celtic to concede. Matri latches on to a hopeful lofted ball after nudging his man aside too easy. He puts it through the legs of Forster and despite Celtic’s best efforts it probably crosses the line. Marchisio slams home the rebound anyway. Disaster start for the Bhoys.
7.49pm: Wanyama has a shot from range that is going wide but Buffon tries to catch it and ends up dropping it. The Celtic corner comes to nothing but Hooper got a healthy shove from a Juventus defender.
7.47pm: Slightly later than planned, Juventus kick-off.
7.44pm: Roy Keane is advising Scott Brown to play aggressively. Good advice from the Irishman. It would be silly to try and offer advice on a style of play you’re unfamiliar with so he’s stuck to his guns nicely.
7.42pm: Will Fraser Forster have another blinder? Celtic are 13/2 to win to nil this evening.
7.38pm: ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ rings around Celtic Park. Thankfully that manages to shut Chiles up for a little bit.
7.29pm: The Celtic players are warming up. Looking hotter than usual as well…
7.27pm: Cover your eyes! Here comes Chiles!
7.24pm: Celtic have only lost twice at home in the Champions League proper and in their previous two meetings with Juve at Celtic Park they have won 1-0 and 4-3. Suddenly that 2/1 on Celtic draw no bet looks a little more attractive.
7.21pm: Gary Linekar has taken time out from selling crisps to make a reasonably funny joke based on current affairs…
7.20pm: Celtic are 10/3 tonight with Juventus odds-on at 17/20 and the draw at 5/2. For me the 1-1 correct score is a decent bet at 11/2.
7.12pm: Nicklas Bendtner doesn’t make the Juventus squad this evening. After eight appearances this season he has racked up exactly the same amount of Serie A league goals as me. Nada.
7.11pm: A few big names missing from both sides tonight. Paul Pogba has been tearing up Serie A but he only makes the bench, alongside some fella called Nicolas Anelka. Celtic are without Georgios Samaras who has a hamstring injury but Efe Ambrose is in after just winning the Africa Cup of Nations with Nigeria. Well done sir.
7.05pm: Here’s the team news…
Celtic: Forster, Lustig, Wilson, Ambrose, Izaguirre, Forrest, Brown, Wanyama, Mulgrew; Commons, Hooper
Juventus: Buffon, Barzagli, Bonucci, Caceres, Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Peluso, Matri, Vucinic
7.00pm: You’ve all got 45 minutes to put down the syrup, finish your pancakes and settle down for another thrilling evening of Champions League football. Celtic Park is absolutely jumping.