The full resonance of Celtic FC's visit may escape some of Manchester United FC's exotic imports but native Mancunian Wes Brown needs no telling why the tie has whetted the appetite on both sides of the border.
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His manager described it as a "local derby" whose full resonance may escape some of his club's more exotic imports, but as a native Mancunian Wes Brown needs no telling why Manchester United FC's latest meeting with Celtic FC has whetted the appetite on both sides of the border.
Looking ahead to Tuesday's Group E encounter at Old Trafford, England defender Brown said: "It's one of the biggest clubs in Scotland against the biggest club in England. Coming from England it is a massive game for us. We know it is the sort of game where both teams will get stuck in and the English players will understand that a bit more than the foreigners, although I am sure they will know as soon as the Celtic fans start singing and the home fans respond."
Sir Alex Ferguson listed "the Portuguese, the Brazilians, the Argentinians, the French" in his side who "don't understand [the rivalry] the way you and I do". Yet there should be more than a dozen players on show from the British Isles and a high tempo seems guaranteed. "We know what sort of game it is and the fans know," added Brown, twice a UEFA Champions League winner with United. "We are sure Celtic are going to come here and give us a tough fight."
It is nine years since England and Scotland last met on the international stage yet in the intervening period Celtic have visited England three times – and emerged triumphant on two occasions. They recorded 2-0 wins against both Blackburn Rovers FC and Liverpool FC in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup and while they lost an exciting match 3-2 at Old Trafford in the UEFA Champions League two seasons ago, their subsequent 1-0 victory at Celtic Park meant they would have beaten United had it been a two-legged tie.
Recalling those matches in 2006/07, Celtic midfielder Shaun Maloney said: "The last game was really open, there could have been a lot more goals – our keeper [Artur Boruc] had a great night." Celtic's match-winner against United in November 2006 was Japan midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura, who after firing in one spectacular free-kick at Old Trafford, repeated the trick for the only goal in Glasgow on a night Boruc saved a last-minute penalty. With United starting as favourites on Tuesday, Maloney recognised it may require another piece of individual magic for Celtic to take something from the fixture. "One of our players will have to stand up and do something extraordinary like he [Nakamura] did last time and hopefully someone will come up with it," he said.