Celtic should be pumped up when they face Sparta Prague in the Europa League after their manager’s claim about the Hoops.
It is safe to say that Celtic were handed a much tougher group than they would have wanted in the Europa League. The Hoops have been drawn with AC Milan, Lille and Sparta Prague – three very tough teams.
Celtic vs AC Milan will without doubt be the glamour tie of the group and it is a shame that fans won’t be there in the stadium to witness it. It is a match that belongs in the Champions League because of the history that both these sides bring to the table. Unfortunately though, they will have to settle for the Europa League.
AC Milan have not been at their best for over a decade now but they are slowly starting to build a promising young side while 38-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic continues to wreck havoc up top.
Lille on the other hand are a very strong side, having finished in the top four of the French Ligue 1 the last two seasons and currently sitting at second this season. Thus, do not expect them to be pushovers either. While Sparta Prague are also leading the Czech league at the moment.
Qualification for Celtic is still very much a possibility though. Last year they beat Lazio twice in the group stage, while also winning at home and drawing away at Rennes. And both teams did spectacularly well in their domestic competitions. So it is no mountain that Neil Lennon’s side have not climbed before. But it looks like nobody gave Sparta Prague boss, Vaclav Kotal, the memo.
As reported by the Daily Record, when asked about the weakest team in their group, the Sparta Prague manager said:
"“Certainly not Lille, no.“They have done very well in the French league and play a fast, athletic style of football – always in motion.“In my opinion, the most playable is Celtic and they were in the first pot. But the opponents are all very attractive.”"
Celtic will get the chance to show the Prague boss exactly how wrong he is. But of course they will have to grab the opportunity with both hands. They have not been in the best of form in Europe lately but the group stage means that they can start on a fresh plate without the added pressure of a direct knockout.