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Celtic ready to inflict more pain on wounded Milan

Published: Monday 25 November 2013, 21.45CET
Neil Lennon says Celtic FC have "got nothing to lose and everything to gain", a statement Massimiliano Allegri and his struggling AC Milan team can only dream of.
by Emmanuelle Hingant
from Glasgow
Celtic ready to inflict more pain on wounded Milan
Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri in Glasgow ©AFP/Getty Images

Tournament statistics

CelticMilan

Goals scored3
 
9
Possession (%)41
 
59
Total attempts60
 
73
on target34
 
40
off target26
 
33
blocked0
 
0
against woodwork2
 
2
Corners34
 
25
Offsides12
 
20
Yellow cards14
 
18
Red Cards2
 
1
Fouls committed93
 
108
Fouls suffered55
 
116
Passes2508
 
4057
completed1701
 
2982

Press kits

  • Match press kit (local language)
 
Published: Monday 25 November 2013, 21.45CET

Celtic ready to inflict more pain on wounded Milan

Neil Lennon says Celtic FC have "got nothing to lose and everything to gain", a statement Massimiliano Allegri and his struggling AC Milan team can only dream of.

Celtic FC and AC Milan go head to head in a potential UEFA Champions League Group H qualifying decider in Glasgow on Tuesday.

Just two points separate second-placed Milan from bottom side Celtic, with AFC Ajax sandwiched in between. Celtic manager Neil Lennon believes "we've got nothing to lose and everything to gain", but not so Massimiliano Allegri, who has called on his team to put a wretched run behind them and focus on the task at hand. A last-16 spot, he says, is in their grasp.

• Celtic will be out with a loss, or with a draw if Ajax beat FC Barcelona. Milan will go through if they win and Ajax lose.

Celtic
Neil Lennon, manager
In the context of the Champions League, it is the game you have to win to have any chance of qualifying. It's a great game for the players to be involved in. We've performed very well in the group, apart from the first half in Amsterdam, so I want that to continue tomorrow. There's a lot of motivation and incentive in that game.

We're playing against a very good side despite what the recent league form has been showing. I watched them on Saturday, they dominated against Genoa, they were unfortunate not to win the game, they played at a very high-calibre tempo. Milan were excellent in some passages of the game.

There's a lot of emphasis on winning this game. My players know what's at stake, they're looking forward to it. I don't think I'm feeling pressure at all. We don't want any nerves or anxiety even though it's a natural state to be in. There can be tension, nice tension, not an anxious one. We've got nothing to lose and everything to gain and that's a great position to be in.

They may have to prove a point to their supporters, but not to anyone else around the world. They've beaten us, they've drawn against Barça, they've drawn away in Amsterdam. Their results have been solid in the group. They have a great chance to go through and maybe that'll be the springboard for them. But that's not my concern obviously. I'm focused on how we play and getting the great support we always get. It should be another great night.

Weekend result
Saturday: Celtic 3-1 Aberdeen FC (Commons 36 90+3, Boerrigter 90+1; McGinn 45+2)
Forster; Fisher (Lustig 73), Ambrose, Van Dijk, Izaguirre; Mulgrew, Brown, Ledley (Baldé 80), Commons; Samaras, Pukki (Boerrigter 64).

• Celtic are 13 games unbeaten in the league – their longest run since 2003/04 when they went 32 matches without defeat. Aberdeen have suffered 17 consecutive defeats at Celtic Park, their last victory coming in October 2004.

Team news
James Forrest has recovered from the hamstring injury which kept him out of the Scotland squad, and Anthony Stokes may also be available having missed the game on Saturday due to an undisclosed family problem. Scott Brown and Nir Baton serve the last matches of their European suspensions, while Adam Matthews (shoulder) and Steven Mouyokolo (Achilles) are long-term absentees.

Milan
Massimiliano Allegri, coach
This is an important match, even if a win may not be enough for us to qualify. Celtic are strong and they play aggressively so we'll have to be good technically and tactically. It'll be very difficult. Celtic have only lost two of their last 11 games at home in the Champions League. But even a loss could take us through depending on the result of the other match.

Too many times recently we haven't performed. For the first part of the season we had three objectives: qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League; then Serie A, which is not going as well as we could have hoped; and eventually the Coppa Italia. Any other problems, the players don't have to worry about. They just need to focus on their game.

It's natural that the fans are disappointed – everyone at the club is. We have to improve but the fans have to get behind us.

Weekend result
Saturday: Milan 1-1 Genoa CFC (Kaká 4; Gilardino 8pen)
Abbiati; Abate, Zapata, Bonera, Emanuelson; Poli (Robinho 73), De Jong, Muntari (Birsa 46); Kaká; Matri, Balotelli.

• Despite playing 54 minutes against ten men, Milan were held to a 1-1 draw. Mario Balotelli missed his second penalty in three attempts having previously had a perfect record from 21 spot kicks.

Team news
Allegri confirmed that Balotelli will start. Daniele Bonera made his first appearance of the season at the weekend following a knee problem, but Milan still have a lengthy injury list: Marco Amelia (knee), Cristian Zaccardo (ankle), Mattia De Sciglio (knee), Giampaolo Pazzini (knee), Stephan El Sharaawy (foot) and Sulley Muntari (thigh).

Match fact
• The clubs traded home wins when they met in the 2007/08 group stage. Scott McDonald's 89th-minute winner earned Celtic a 2-1 home success following goals by Stephen McManus (61) and Kaká (68), but Carlo Ancelotti's men avenged that defeat with a 1-0 victory at San Siro in their final group fixture, Filippo Inzaghi scoring (70). Gordon Strachan's Celtic still joined Milan in the last 16 as group runners-up.

Last updated: 26/11/13 8.18CET

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