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Last Updated: Monday, 18 February 2008, 14:46 GMT
Chick Young's view
Chick Young
By Chick Young
BBC Scotland football correspondent

Lionel Messi laps up the praise from Ronaldinho, Henry and Iniesta
Barcelona will bring a host of star names to Glasgow

The Nou Camp is a special cathedral of football, maybe my favourite place on earth to watch the beautiful game.

And once again Celtic's Champions' League fate will unfold in the shadow of its towering grandstands on a breathless Catalunyan night.

It promises to be a thunderous occasion.

But the Scottish champions have to negotiate a first leg in the east end of Glasgow as Barcelona and their soccer gods strut their magical stuff on a winter's night when the passions will rise and the Parkhead faithful will growl their welcome in the Lisbon Lions' den.

There won't be a ground in Europe this week to rival the bubble and effervesce at Celtic Park.

Celtic are staring down not just the barrel of a gun, but a triple salvo of nuclear football power which threatens to blow them to kingdom come.

Samuel Eto'o, Thierry Henry and Lionel Messi; even fearless defenders gulp nervously at the thought of that trio.

And then there's Ronaldinho, who partied so hard he threatened an Eamon Holmes silhouette. It was as if someone was inflating him.

But don't be fooled. He still has an angel's touch on the ball.

I see that Andreas Hinkel, who arrived at Celtic from a tour of duty in La Liga where he was employed by Seville, believes the roly-poly Brazilian is a shadow, in football terms, of his former self.

Obviously, on the flesh count, the corollary is true.

Had Hinkel not been cup-tied for the competition, he might have been tempting fate.


Hinkel was lacking in energy against Hearts at the weekend. At one stage Andy Driver accelerated past him with such pace that it seemed as if the German was towing a caravan.

Messi is similarly jet-heeled and the new Celtic full-back may be permitted a quiet smile to himself that he can forego that particular torture.

And yet all of this would be to underestimate Celtic's remarkable achievements.

At the very worst this tie will be alive and kicking in Spain.

Gordon Strachan and Frank Rijkaard are unlikely to meet for a chat in the transfer market place. They shop at different ends you see.

There is not a player on the planet that Barca would not consider wooing. Meanwhile, the Celtic manager often has to settle for: "Woo, what a talent he is?"

The Catalunyan giants have tracks on every kid on the planet out of nappies who threatens to extend his dribbling skills beyond the bib.

If you can bounce a rubber ball round a nursery then there is every chance there will be a Barcelona scout at your front gate.

You get the impression that Messi and Bojan Krkic were monitored in the womb.

But then there is something about Celtic.

Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc
Celtic's Artur Boruc is a world-class goalkeeper

There is no doubt that in Artur Boruc, for all his nonsensical antics, they have a goalkeeper who is among the world's best.

His public spat with captain Stephen McManus in the Hearts game was school playground stuff, but would be laughed off in the dressing room.

Embarrassing, but not fatal to team spirit although there is much cringe-worthy about watching a publicly viewed domestic argument.

Aiden McGeady, this column has already predicted, will be a double player of the year and Scott MacDonald's tally of 24 goals at this stage of the season is remarkable.

On the other hand the absence of Scott Brown, through suspension, is not good.

The Champions' League is back and we give thanks to the good Lord for that and the continuing presence of a Scottish team in its unfolding.

When the draw was made I thought it signalled the end of the road for Celtic but now I am not so sure.

I honestly believe that Strachan's side can yet shoe-horn themselves in to the holy ground of the last eight although maybe, just maybe, Barcelona are just in time finding their own straight and narrow.

It will be breathtaking at Parkhead. We will be breathless in Barcelona.

Celtic v Barcelona
18 Feb 08 |  Europe
McGeady tipped to trouble Barca
19 Feb 08 |  Celtic
Celtic ready for battling Barca
19 Feb 08 |  Celtic


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