DAVIE HAY: Juve nothing to fear, Celtic

NO MATTER who Celtic got in the draw for the last 16 of the Champions League, there was always one certainty.

Loading Comments
Andrea Pirlo will be Juve's main dangerman
Andrea Pirlo will be Juve's main dangerman

That was irrespective of which opponent they drew, it would be an extremely tough fixture that would be appetising for players, management and supporters alike.

That is certainly what the Scottish champions have got now they have been chosen to face their Italian counterparts Juventus.

Juve have done superbly domestically both last season – when they went undefeated in Serie A – and this season as well.

They are currently seven points clear of their nearest rivals Inter Milan at the top of the league.

In addition to that, they have played very well in Europe this season and progressed from a group that included Chelsea and Shakhtar Donetsk.

A meeting with them is extremely attractive but it will be very difficult.

There are over six weeks until the two sides meet in the first leg at Parkhead and a lot can happen between now and then.

Hopefully, though, Celtic's key players, the likes of Scott Brown, Gary Hooper and Victor Wanyama, won't suffer any major injuries.

The manager needs to have as many options available to him as possible heading into this demanding fixture.

But if the squad has a clean bill of health then I don't think there is any great need for Neil Lennon to add to his squad in the January transfer window.

He has stated that he'd like to get in a left-sided player, either a defender or somebody who can play further forward, next month. Neil sees his players every day and knows where he needs to address so I would not disagree with him.

I would personally like to see him bring in an extremely creative forward, somebody who can thread a pass through the eye of a needle and unlock a defence.

The sort of individual I would refer to as a loose 10, a Lubo Moravcik-type player.

But if nobody of that description is available for the sort of money, the club have to spend then I don't think it is an issue.

If the pool he has at his disposal was good enough to push Barcelona away in the Nou Camp and beat them at home then why does he need to strengthen?

People always say: "You need to sign players in January!" Sorry, but I just don't agree.

This group of players got Celtic to the last 16 of the Champions League. They beat Spartak Moscow away from home. They beat Barcelona at home. I would be quite comfortable if Celtic run with the squad they have.

James Forrest is set to return to the first team and Anthony Stokes is not far away either.

They are both excellent players who will bring a tremendous amount to the table.

Stokes is a proven goalscorer domestically. What's more, his deal is up in the summer.

He will be hoping to sort out his future in the games between his return and the end of the season. He certainly gives Neil another option up front.

But I think Celtic have enough depth, quality and strength as things stand.

Juventus have a lot of extremely talented players. Andrea Pirlo, the Italy playmaker, is probably the best known of their stars.

Pirlo is a top drawer player. You saw in Euro 2012 in the summer how much he can hurt a team if given time and space.

England stood off him in the quarter-finals and paid the price. He had a very good game against them.

In the semi-final against Germany he was not given as much room to manoeuvre and was quieter.

But it is not just the former World Cup winner they have to worry about. Manager Antonio Conte has so many good players at his disposal.

But, having said that, it is not impossible for Celtic to win and progress to the last eight.

They pushed Barcelona away and beat them at home. They should go into this game without any trepidation.

They should be looking forward to playing such a good team. Their form in Europe has been exceptional and I am sure they will be confident they can pull off another upset.

But first of all they have to lay down a marker in their first game at Celtic Park. Not losing a goal at home is important now we are into the knockout stages.

I am sure that between now and February 12 every Celtic player will be giving their all in the SPL to ensure they are involved against the famous Turin club.

Every player wants to take part in the Champions League. A game against a club like Juventus does not come along too often and everyone will be desperate to be involved.

If they can stay fit and focused, then there is no reason why Celtic can't claim the scalp of another one of the continent's great teams.


Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on Evening Times on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.


Have you got a story?

Contact the news desk on 0141 302 6520 or email news@eveningtimes.co.uk
A weekly round up of social highlights

A weekly round up of social highlights

Cat's Eyes on Glasgow

Chilling in Glasgow's first Ice Bar and getting Mhor than I bargained for




Michelle McManus

Michelle McManus

Columnist Michelle McManus is Sussed in the City, and loves to chat about anything and everything.

Games news:

Putting the world to rights

Gail's Gab

My thoughts after Police Scotland are ordered to apologise over IRA interrogation techniques slur.

Janice Bell

Janice Bell

You couldn’t make up half the stuff that happens to PA Janice Bell- some of the jams she gets herself into are worth a story or two.