Celtic are 'magnificent' before trip to Nou Camp
St Mirren 0 Celtic 5
St Mirren Park
Sunday 21 October 2012
Neil Lennon described his side's performance in the 5-0 thrashing of St Mirren in Paisley as "magnificent" but admits they face a different proposition when they take on Barcelona in the Nou Camp on Tuesday night.
Goals from Gary Hooper and Efe Ambrose before Victor Wanyama grabbed a double gave an under-strength Hoops side an unassailable interval lead and Tony Watt scored with four minutes remaining to seal a commanding Clydesdale Bank Premier League victory.
However, the Hoops manager knows it will be more difficult in their Champions League Group G clash in the Nou Camp. Before flying by private jet to watch Barcelona play Deportivo La Coruna tonight, Lennon said: "I think it was more than convincing. I think it was very powerful.
"It is a huge fillip for us but we know Barcelona will be a totally different game.
"We know we are not going to have the bulk of possession, we know we will be under pressure and we will have to take a different mentality into the game but I couldn't be more pleased.
"If we play like we did today and if we can impose ourselves on Barcelona then we will be okay."
Lennon's starting XI had several key players missing.
Skipper Scott Brown (hip), winger James Forrest (groin) and midfielder Kris Commons (hamstring) were left out and the Greece striker Georgios Samaras was rested after struggling with pain from a recent elbow injury.
The Celtic manager later updated his injury list, saying: "Lassad [Nouioui] is a major doubt, he was feeling his groin again. Samaras was a precaution, he was feeling his arm against Slovakia the other night, so we decided to give him extra time to recover. Kris's hamstring is a concern so we will have to see how he is and James should be okay. Adam Matthews got a bang on the knee and should be okay. We are hoping Scotty trains tomorrow."
Lennon acknowledges that taking on Barca superstar Lionel Messi and his team-mates in their backyard is one of the most glamorous fixtures his players are likely to play in during their club careers.
He said: "They are the best club side in the world and they have been for the last four or five years. Arguably, they are the greatest club team of all time. Messi could be in the bracket of the greatest ever player. He seems to re-write the record books more or less every year. I think the way he plays the game, he is the type of player that everyone wants to watch.
"It doesn't take a genius to work out that they have some decent players in that team and what formation they play. We will work on trying to combat that over the coming days."
St Mirren (4-4-2): Samson: van Zanten, Dummett, Mair, McAusland; Barron (Imrie, h-t), Goodwin (McGinn, 78), Carey, McLean; Thompson, Guy.
Celtic (4-4-2): Forster: Matthews (Lustig, 75), Ambrose, Wilson (Izaguirre, h-t), Mulgrew; Ledley, Kayal, Wanyama, Nouioui (Miku, 57); Watt, Hooper.
Referee C Murray.
Man of the match Wanyama.
Match rating 7/10.
It looks very much as though 2015 will be a good year for the world economy, after all – and, if it is, that will be thanks to the fall in the oil price. It won't be good for everyone and we have already seen the pressure it puts on the Russian leadership – though, before you conclude that sometimes there is natural justice in the world, remember that the people who are hurt are not leaders such as Vladimir Putin. Other oil- and gas-exporting countries are damaged, too, and I think we will see further fallout in unpredictable ways. But the net impact is strongly positive, more so than most commentators at present acknowledge. The winners far outnumber the losers.
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