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SPL side travel to Turin with a mountain to climb.
Juventus claim they are not taking the threat of Celtic lightly when the Scottish champions arrive in Turin hoping to pull off a Champions League miracle in their last 16 second leg on Wednesday.
Antonio Conte’s side put one foot in the quarter-finals of Europe’s premier club competition for the first time since being ousted by Arsenal in 2006 thanks to a 3-0 first leg rout of Neil Lennon’s team in Glasgow last month.
While the fallout from that defeat landed mainly at the feet of Nigerian defender Efe Ambrose, who was guilty of errors before all three of Juve’s goals, there is no escaping the enormity of the task facing Lennon’s men.
The Champions League, however, has produced several shock results over the years, notably Manchester United’s comeback against Bayern Munich in the 1999 final and AC Milan’s defeat to Liverpool in the 2005 final despite holding a 3-0 half-time lead.
With those in mind, Juventus said “the Bhoys’ desire to place a dent in Juve’s qualification hopes means Conte is leaving no stone unturned”.
That has meant “intensive tactical workouts” with a view to making sure Celtic do not score the early goal which could give the Scots the momentum needed to start working towards causing a huge upset.
Defender Giorgio Chiellini said: “Nothing is in the bag yet. We still have a lot to do and need to approach this game believing that.”
While Conte could rest first team regulars including Stephan Lichsteiner, Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal — all of whom played in Glasgow but are one yellow card away from suspension — he is not short on quality.
Conte could welcome back Ghanaian midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah, who should be fresh after missing Friday’s 1-1 Serie A draw away to Napoli, as well as French teenager Paul Pogba.
Since joining the Italians for free from Manchester United in the summer, Pogba has shown maturity beyond his years in midfield and scored some stunning goals to boot.
Reports in Italy suggest Conte’s usual 3-5-2 formation will be spearheaded by strikers Fabio Quagliarella and Alessandro Matri, with Mirko Vucinic — who started in Glasgow with Matri — on the bench.
Lennon admits Juve boast quality, but the Northern Irishman is convinced his side’s Scottish Cup quarter-final win against St Mirren will give Celtic a much needed boost ahead of Wednesday’s tie.
He believes the Scots were hard done by in Glasgow, where they were ultimately handicapped by Alessandro Matri’s early goal and left playing catch-up for the remainder.
“What we would like to do is go there and compete and try and win the tie,” Lennon said. “We want to try and make it look like the score-line at Celtic Park was a little bit flattering to Juventus.
“We felt there wasn’t that much between the teams although they did have a lot of class in their side as you would expect from Juventus.
“But, psychologically, today will give them a huge lift going into the game. I think it’s a game very much to look forward to. If we can go there and win it will be a tremendous way to end the campaign.
“This is the Champions League and it’s the blue riband event. We have had a marvellous season in it and we want to end on a high.”
Celtic manager Neil Lennon says the Scots will complain to the match referee on Wednesday if there is a repeat of the pushing and shoving incidents which marred the sides’ first leg in Glasgow last month.
The Scottish champions take on their Italian counterparts trailing 3-0 from the first leg at Celtic Park, where the hosts were manhandled by Juve’s defenders in the goalmouth at almost every setpiece.
Lennon was furious the match referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco failed to take any action against Juve’s players,claiming he “didn’t do his job”. The manager went on to lodge a formal complaint with UEFA.
Ahead of Wednesday’s second leg, when the Scots will need a miracle to overcome the Bianconeri if they are to make the competition’s last eight, Lennon pledged they will not wait so long to complain this time.
“No one minds physical contact,” Lennon said. “I don’t want to make a big issue of it but the players will make the referee aware if it goes on again.”
Lennon admitted Juventus deserved to win the first leg but indicated that it was not the first time the Italians are guilty of such tactics.
“I’m not taking anything away from Juventus, they deserved to win the game (first leg),” he added.
“But I did feel there were parts of the game that Juve should have been punished for, particularly at the corners.
“I watched the Napoli v Juve game the other night and (Napoli striker, Edinson) Cavani was being pulled around quite a bit. We’re just looking for the referee to do his job properly, that is all.”
Celtic manager Neil Lennon says pride must be restored first and foremost as the Scottish champions prepare to take on Italian giants Juventus in their Champions League last 16 second leg on Wednesday.
Juve defiantly put one foot into the quarter-finals of Europe’s premier club competition with a 3-0 defeat of the Scottish champions 3-0 in Glasgow last month.
And while every Celtic fan will be dreaming of a result at a packed-out Juventus Stadium that would pave the way towards a place in the last eight, Lennon all but played down that possibility.
He said Celtic’s priority should be trying to win the game in a bid to restore the pride that was lost at Celtic Park nearly a month ago.
“It would be a tall order to come to Turin to win 3-0 or 4-1, but we are capable of winning the game and that’s what we’d like to do,” Lennon said in Turin here on Tuesday.
“We want to restore some respectabilty in the tie.”
Juventus Stadium will be full to its 40,000 capacity as the Italian champions prepare to celebrate joining the quarter-finals for the first time since their exit at the hands of Arsenal in 2006.
While the Italians could rest several first team regulars including Stephan Lichsteiner, Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal — all of whom played in Glasgow but are one yellow card away from suspension — their absence is hardly likely to be felt.
Juve coach Antonio Conte could welcome back Ghanaian midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah, who should be fresh after missing Friday’s 1-1 Serie A draw away to Napoli, as well as French teenager Paul Pogba.
Celtic, meanwile, will be without striker Tony Watt, who came off the bench to score the second goal in the win over Barcelona in the group stages while defender Charlie Mulgrew “could start on the bench” having only returned to training this week.
Although Celtic remain hopeful, Lennon appeared resigned to the fact that aiming for the win is more realistic.
“If we can create as many chances as we did at Celtic Park then we’ve got a chance,” added the northern Irishman, who complained to European football’s ruling body after the first leg due to several pushing and shoving incidents.
“If we can win in Italy it would be a huge achievement and allow us to match our club record in Europe.”
When asked what he will be telling his players before the game, he said: “This is a fantastic game to play, we may not be here again together as a group. Enjoy it, don’t be intimidated.
“We want to close the gap on the scoreline so we have to play at our optimum tomorrow night.”
But, he added, Juventus won’t be easy to overcome.
“They’re difficult to break down, good on the counter-attack and have some real class performers,” added Lennon.
“These players are top class international players. We can’t go out there all guns blazing.”
Barzagli, Bonucci, Peluso
Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Marchisio, Asamoah
Matthews, Ambrose, Wilson, Izaguirre
Ledley, Wanyama, Commons
Forrest, Hooper, Samaras
Celtic to win against Juventus at 8/1: Juventus vs Celtic Betting