Football: Celtic face Barcelona in the Nou Camp for the fifth time in their history tomorrow night, boosted by the news that four key players travelled to Catalonia despite missing Saturday’s win over St Mirren through injury.
Scott Brown, James Forrest, Georgios Samaras and Kris Commons were all included in the Hoops’ contingent for the Group G clash, with the Scots hoping to improve on their record of having lost twice and drawn twice on their previous four visits to the Spanish giants.
All four players were absent as Celtic defeated the Buddies 5-0 and assistant Johan Mjallby said: “They are in the squad which means they are in contention. Dylan McGeouch and Lassad (Nouioui) are not travelling.”
Defenders Adam Matthews (knee) and Kelvin Wilson (calf) have also recovered.
Celtic have taken four points from their first two group games. They drew 0-0 at home to Benfica and a then earned a 3-2 away win against Spartak Moscow, while Barcelona top the section with two victories.
Mjallby was present on Saturday when Lionel Messi bagged a hat-trick in Barcelona’s 5-4 win over Deportivo La Coruna and admitted his side will have their work cut out to cope with the Argentinian.
He said: “I was there watching it live and, what can you say, he is up there with the best to grace the game. He is just fantastic. I don’t know how you can stop him. He doesn’t really play as a recognised striker.
“What they do, if you are a centre-half, is take you out of your comfort zone and that is something you don’t like.
“So we need to tell our defenders that they are going to be out of their comfort zone and need to gamble a wee bit, and that they can’t count on their team-mates to give you cover.”
Mjallby added that “we are not going to focus on Lionel Messi — they have another nine (outfield) guys who can play football.”