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Nevin: Celtic need miracle

6 March 2013 14:17

Former Scotland midfielder Pat Nevin said Celtic need a club-defining upset to overturn their deficit to Juventus in the Champions League.

Neil Lennon's men were blown away in the first leg after lethal finishes from Alessandro Matri, Claudio Marchisio and Mirko Vucinic left Celtic with a huge task in the return leg.

Despite beating Barcelona at Parkhead in the group stages, Nevin feels Celtic must put in an even better performance against Italy's Old Lady in order to progress to the quarter-finals of the competition.

"It would be more than just a great result if they turned the deficit around, it would be the biggest surprise result in the club's history," he told Goal.com.

"Beating Barcelona in the group stages in Glasgow showed that on their day Celtic can compete with anyone, but they've left themselves far too much to do this time.

"The frustrating thing was that I don't think there was too much between the sides in the first leg. A defensive mistake led to an early Juventus goal and Celtic never recovered.

"If Efe Ambrose had found the net with a free header before the break it might have been a different story, but he didn't and the Italians took their chances as Celtic left gaps chasing the match."

Nevin suggests while a heroic comeback may be on the minds of many Celtic fans, it may be more prudent for Lennon to plan against potential embarrassment in Italy and look to gain some respect for his side.

"Celtic boss Neil Lennon will be tempted to put out an attacking side tonight because they have nothing to lose, but I think he has to be realistic and guard against an embarrassing aggregate defeat," he continued.

"I think he will he will go with three centre backs, two wing-backs and opt for Georgios Samaras as a lone battering ram up front.

"It might not win them the tie, but it could get them back their respectability."

And while Nevin does not believe the desperate plight of rivals Rangers has harmed Celtic this season, he feels the absence of the Gers could lead to the Bhoys struggling in future against Europe's elite.

"I don't think the lack of domestic competition has been a hindrance to Celtic this season, but it could have an impact in future seasons," he added.

"This season they've struggled immediately after Champions League games, which tells me that Neil Lennon believes he has enough breathing space in the SPL to concentrate on Europe.

"While that has worked to their advantage this season, they need strong domestic competition to continue to compete against the best in Europe and without Rangers in the SPL for at least a couple more seasons then it can only be harder."

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Info

2 - 0

Competition
UEFA Champions League
Date
6 March 2013
Kick-off
20:45
Half-time
1 - 0
Full-time
2 - 0
On aggregate
5 - 0
Venue
Juventus Stadium (Torino)
Attendance
39011

Goals

A. Matri 24'  
1 - 0
F. Quagliarella 65'
(assist by A. Vidal) 
2 - 0

Lineups

Substitutes

# Player Bookings
22
33
24
3
9
12
30
# Player Bookings
4
49
11
7
10
24
46

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