Barcelona number one Marc ter Stegen has sent a big compliment Celtic’s way by claiming that Parkhead is one of the best stadiums in world football.
Stegen, a Champions League winner with Barca back in 2014/15, played in Glasgow back in the 2016/17 season. His side managed to come to Celtic Park and nab a fine 2-0 win courtesy of a brace from Lionel Messi.
However, Barca have fallen twice at Celtic’s home in the past. Our 1-0 UEFA Cup success against them back in 2004 was eclipsed by an iconic 2-1 victory against Tito Vilanova’s unbeatables in November 2012.
Both of those matches came before ter Stegen signed at the Nou Camp of course. And, speaking in a Twitter Q&A, the German international hailed his Parkhead experience:
— Marc ter Stegen (@mterstegen1) March 22, 2020
Champions League accessibility isn’t what it once was
These days, Celtic have to go through three qualifiers in order to meet the likes of Barcelona in the group stage of the Champions League. It’s fair to say that getting there consistently has gotten more and more difficult over the years.
Indeed, our last year in Europe’s elite competition came in the 2017/18 campaign under Brendan Rodgers. Even then we failed to lay much of a dent on Bayern Munich and PSG, losing all four games against them as well as the home match against Anderlecht. Only a 3-0 success in Belgium secured us Europa League last-32 qualification on its own.
Over the years since ter Stegen’s visit, Parkhead has been losing its fear factor. RB Salzburg, PSG, and Valencia are all examples of clubs who have come to Glasgow and won without breaking a sweat.
Yet, Neil Lennon has managed to restore some pride into our home record this season. Celtic won all three group stage matches in the Europa League – putting Cluj, Lazio, and Rennes to the sword in impressive fashion.
Yes, Copenhagen added to the Cluj disaster of August and some black marks were thrown back onto our home record. However, generally, Celtic seem to be finding their feet in Europe at home once again.
Hopefully, by the time ter Stegen’s Barcelona meets Celtic once again, we’re a tad more prepared than we were for our 2016 meetings.