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.
Article top media content
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
• 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.