The official website for European football

Celtic geared for Gunners test

Published: Tuesday 18 August 2009, 8.05CET
Tony Mowbray is "under no illusions" about the size of his Celtic FC charges' task against an Arsenal FC side whose coach Arsène Wenger has called on his players to silence the Celtic Park crowd.
Celtic geared for Gunners test
Tony Mowbray knows his Celtic side face a daunting test of their UEFA Champions League credentials against Arsenal ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics


Goals scored3
Attempts on target14
Attempts off target7
Fouls committed54
Yellow cards9
Red cards0
Published: Tuesday 18 August 2009, 8.05CET

Celtic geared for Gunners test

Tony Mowbray is "under no illusions" about the size of his Celtic FC charges' task against an Arsenal FC side whose coach Arsène Wenger has called on his players to silence the Celtic Park crowd.

Celtic FC have lost only once at home to English opposition before but manager Tony Mowbray is under no illusions about the size of his side's task against last term's beaten UEFA Champions League semi-finalists Arsenal FC in their cross-border play-off round contest.


Tony Mowbray, Celtic manager
We are under no illusions, we are aware of the world-class players Arsenal have got. But we are looking forward to it and we have confidence. Arsenal are exceptionally good at keeping the ball and going forward but we are going to try and win. We lost the first match here against a very good [FC Dinamo Moskva] side and managed to win the away game. They might be tight games but let's hope it's a good game for British football. I don't think many teams, if any, can beat Arsenal at their own game yet every match has a different way of unfolding and we will see how this pans out.

Arsène Wenger, Arsenal manager

I still feel we are under pressure to perform because it is a massive game for us. On the other hand, you want games with this kind of pressure because you want the opportunity to show how good you are. We know we can gain respect if we perform against a team like Celtic because still many people expect a difficult game here. The atmosphere is always heated in Scotland but at the end of the day, it's eleven v eleven on the pitch and that's all that matters. We've been all over Europe in some very heated places and we know by experience that what matters is how we will play. If we can keep the atmosphere low-key it would be good and the only way to do that would be down to our performance.

Key stats

• Though these two sides have never met before, Celtic have enjoyed the better of their meetings with English teams on home soil, where their record reads four wins, three draws and one defeat.

• Celtic's most recent encounters with Premier League opposition came in UEFA Champions League Group E last term, when eventual finalists Manchester United FC followed a 3-0 home win with a 1-1 draw at Celtic Park.

• Arsenal have never faced Scottish opposition, but Gunners manager Arsène Wenger recorded a pair of league wins over Celtic counterpart Tony Mowbray last season, while the latter was in charge of West Bromwich Albion FC.

• An Arsenal legend as a player and current head of youth development at the club, Liam Brady managed Celtic from 1991-93.

How they reached the play-offs

• Runners-up in the Scottish Premier League last term, Celtic owe their place in the play-off round to Georgios Samaras's last-gasp strike at FC Dinamo Moskva, Scott McDonald having struck at the end of the first half as Celtic recorded a 2-0 victory following their 1-0 reverse in the opener.

• Arsenal enter the fray at this stage courtesy of their fourth-placed finish in the Premier League last season. The Gunners have contested eleven consecutive group stages, earning an automatic spot each time until 2006/07, when they defeated NK Dinamo Zagreb in qualifying. They then progressed past AC Sparta Praha in 2007/08 and FC Twente last term.

Team news

Out: Barry Robson (groin), Stephen McManus (knee)
Doubtful: Glenn Loovens (knee), Shaun Maloney (unspecified)
Suspended: none
Misses next match if booked: Andreas Hinkel, Chris Killen, Landry Nguemo

Out: Johan Djourou (knee), Łukasz Fabiański (knee), Samir Nasri (broken leg), Tomáš Rosický (hamstring), Theo Walcott (back)
Doubtful: Cesc Fàbregas (hamstring), Bacary Sagna (unspecified), Denilson (groin)
Suspended: none
Misses next game if booked: none

Last competitive results

15/08/09 Aberdeen FC 1-3 Celtic (Scottish Premier League)
(Aluko 61; McGeady 29 42, McDonald 44)

15/08/09 Everton FC 1-6 Arsenal (English Premier League)
(Saha 90; Denilson 26, Vermaelen 37, Gallas 41, Fàbregas 48 70, Eduardo 89)

Did you know?

The only visiting team to have returned south of the border with a victory at Celtic Park were Nottingham Forest FC, 2-1 winners in the 1983/84 UEFA Cup third round.

Last updated: 18/08/09 21.13CET