It’s under 11 months since Neil Lennon masterminded Celtic’s defeat of Barcelona in the Champions League group stage and with Lionel Messi injured this time around he’ll be all the more hopeful of repeating the dose.
Looking at the Hoops’ 2-1 victory and some of the Blaugrana’s other shock European defeats of recent years, here’s what history suggests the Scottish side need to do to vanquish their visitors once again.
Spells in possession will be fleeting – make them count
With the exception of Bayern Munich’s semi-final second leg win in Germany last term, Barca’s recent Champions League defeats have one thing in common: the victors had hardly any of the ball.
Celtic had less than 17 per cent of the orb during last season’s Parkhead triumph, while the 1-0 Stamford Bridge win which set up Chelsea for a completely unexpected victory en route to winning the tournament in 2011/12 was achieved from a platform of a mere 21 per cent possession.
Scoring first is important, the earlier the better
Rubin Kazan’s victory at the Camp Nou in 2009 was a dream result sparked into reality by Aleksandr Ryazantsev’s decision that he would, maybe, you know… smash a 30-yard missile past a helpless Victor Valdes whilst the home fans were still taking their seats.
Victor Wanyama’s opener in the Bhoys’ momentous success against Barca last season came 20 minutes later than the Russian’s goal, but it still caught Barcelona cold and afforded the hosts a position of power from which to defend.
Celtic are 23/4 to score once or more before 15:01 minutes have elapsed.
Set pieces are offensive gold dust
A Charlie Mulgrew corner from the right was the source of the vital breakthrough at Parkhead, with Wanyama taking advantage of the mismatch between himself and diminutive Barcelona full-back Jordi Alba to power home a back post header.
Defenders Mikael Lustig and Efe Ambrose both notched with headers in qualifying for this competition and the pair are 12/1 and 14/1 to score at any time during proceedings against Barcelona.
Don’t concede before half-time
Lennon’s men stood firm until the 90th minute against Lionel Messi and friends in Scotland last season and Rubin Kazan were likewise able to hold out until the 47th minute before succumbing to the red-and-blue hordes.
The Bhoys are 31/10 for the victory in the half-time or full-time result market, which pays out if they’re ahead at the end of the first period or after the final whistle.