Graham Hunter

Watch out Celtic! Things have changed

Barcelona vs Celtic live

When Celtic knocked Barcelona out

The last time I wrote for AS about a Barça-Celtic match I went with the headline: 'Watch out for Celtic!' And it turned out to be prophetic. That night, Celtic, under pressure that seemed unbearable, drew 0-0 to knock Barcelona out, a Barça side with Rijkaard, Ronaldinho, Xavi, Victor Valdés and….Luis Enrique.

Celtic back then: full of warrior types

My opinion back then, was that Celtic had a team that was very well put together, organised and full of warrior types with high levels of testosterone. This time I've got a different opinion. A little while ago I spoke to Victor Wanyama, now at Spurs, but formerly with Celtic, and one of the cornerstones of the team that lost 2-1 in the Camp Nou in 2012 thanks to a last minute goal from Jordi Alba. "Barça have improved a great deal. They are more direct, it's harder to shut them down, even more so with the trident", he said to me. So now I'm writing: "Celtic... watch out for Barcelona!"

Rodgers has studied Barça's methods

It's also interesting to hear Lucho, such a big fan of Brendan Rodgers, devoting affectionate, sincere words to the footballing philosophy of the Irishman. They know each other thanks to Brendan's discreet visits to study Barça's methods and it shouldn't surprise anyone that the Asturian looks kindly on Rodgers' style. But... previous Celtic bosses Martin O'Neill and Neil Lennon, the other Irishmen who made Barcelona sweat were incredibly different.

Barcelona - Celtic: an attractive proposition

Those teams were suffocating, tight, and hard-working to the point of exhaustion. And, moreover, they enjoyed a slice of luck. Rodgers' style is more open and there can be no debate that his team is less well prepared, for reasons of time. Which presents us with a game that's more attractive, but less likely to give us a surprise.

Graham Hunter is a Scottish journalist with Sky