Juve goal is double jeopardy for Celtic

JUVENTUS have sent out a double warning to Celtic ahead of next week's last 16 clash at Parkhead.

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Claudio Marchisio has Celts in full view
Claudio Marchisio has Celts in full view

The Italian giants have set their sights on a Serie A and Champions League double – and are determined to crush anyone who tries to stand in their way.

Tomorrow that's Fiorentina. On Tuesday, it will be Neil Lennon's Hoops.

Juve's experienced midfielder, Claudio Marchisio, has revealed everyone is going to face a backlash as Antonio Conte's side are still smarting from being dumped out of the Italian Cup.

That's something Juve have in common with Celtic, who were shocked to lose to St Mirren in the semi-final of the Scottish Communities League Cup a fortnight ago.

And Marchisio anticipates a do-or-die battle in Glasgow.

The player, who has won 30 caps for Italy, said: "After we've played Fiorentina, we will start to consider the Champions League, knowing that Celtic will be able to count on a red-hot atmosphere on home soil.

"The championship and Champions League are two equally important objectives.

"We missed out on the chance of getting to the Coppa Italia final, and we are very upset about that.

"But there are still two prestigious targets on offer."

Marchisio has no concerns that Juve may find fighting on two fronts beyond them.

He said: "We were at risk of going out of the Champions League in the group stage.

"We had two difficult games against Chelsea and Shakhtar and, at the same time, many important championship fixtures.

"But we were able to win our group and maintain our run in Italy. Now we need to do the same."

Juventus hope Ghana will allow midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah to miss tomorrow's African Cup of Nations third and fourth place play-off against Mali so that he can return to Italy to fly to Glasgow with the rest of the squad.

Celtic face their own race against time to have Efe Ambrose in their line-up on Tuesday.

The defender will play for Nigeria in Sunday's final against Burkino Faso, then try to get back to Parkhead as quickly as possible.

Neil Lennon is not prepared to rule him out just yet, but alternative plans will be in place to cover for Ambrose's absence.

"Efe probably won't get back until Monday evening, so he would be a doubt," the manager told Celtic TV.

"We will get him into the squad and see how he is feeling."

Lennon is also sweating on the availability of Georgios Samaras, who damaged a hamstring against Kilmarnock nine days ago, but reports Emilio Izaguirre – injured in the same game – has now recovered.

Fraser Forster is ready to return between the sticks after his neck problem, but James Forrest is still being assessed after the winger was sent home from Scotland duty on Tuesday.

Lennon said: "He's going for a second scan today."


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