Celtic’s Champions League second leg with Juventus next week pits a wounded team desperate to overturn the wrongs they felt at Celtic Park against the smooth, sophisticated champions of Italy.
The TV cameras did their best to show how Juve defenders wrestled Hoops players to the ground during corners in the first leg, with referee, Alberto Mallenco, unfazed by the accused infringements.
So ‘bad’ was the apparent problem that Celtic even sent a DVD dossier to UEFA after the game, highlighting incidents they felt should have resulted in penalties being awarded in their favour.
Well, a week later, and UEFA have not yet acted upon the evidence and are unlikely to do so. This is the correct stance, for the European football governing body has more often than not stood by the decision of referees during matches – it creates consistency in the game and prevents every team retrospectively complaining each week.
Celtic will feel hard done by but they must forget these supposed injustices if they are to overturn their long odds on Betfair and avoid humiliation at the San Siro next week.
With Juve taking a 3-0 lead into the second leg this tie is all but over but Celtic will want to show pride in their performance and test the Serie A leaders to their limit. Scott Brown will show not lack of determination alongside Victor Wanyama, while Gary Hooper must be craving to get back at Juve’s man-marking defenders.
Unfortunately, Celtic, who are 19/2 to overcome the Old Lady with betting.betfair, will be frustrated by the Italians’ competitiveness but must not rise to it, for there is only one winner in a contest between a raging bull and the matador.
Hopefully, the tie goes by without a red card and Celtic can earn a goal for their travelling fans to cheer, but they must forget about the previous leg to do so.