Celtic can break two European records against Rennes
If you think that tonight’s Europa League clash against Rennes doesn’t matter, you may want to hear some quotes from Neil Lennon.
The Celtic boss made his feelings on the game against the French Cup winners very clear in a press-conference yesterday. We may already have sealed our place in next month’s draw for the round of 32 – but there’s still a lot riding on tonight’s game for Lennon.
“Winning the group is the main motivation and to get a 100% record at home is an added incentive,” Lennon said, as reported on the club’s Twitter feed.
“The highest the club has achieved in a European group stage is 10 points so we want to better that.”
Celtic can seal a perfect home record with victory over Rennes
Lennon’s claims about topping the group and taking more than ten points would have seemed very bold had they been made before a ball was kicked in Group E. We have never achieved either after all. Now they seem pretty likely, as Julien Stephan’s struggling side arrive in the East End of Glasgow.
We’re in completely uncharted territory this season. Previously, gathering ten points from a six game group stage seemed to be our glass ceiling. We already have that tally after four games this year, and could still add another six. The truth is that you wouldn’t be totally surprised if we did.
Lennon’s other point on the home record is perhaps the most important ahead of tonight’s game. Winning all of our home matches wouldn’t be a first but it would signal a rebirth under the Northern Irishman.
In recent years, our European record at Celtic Park has left a lot to be desired. Valencia, Red Bull Salzburg, Anderlecht and Borussia Monchengladbach all won in Glasgow during Brendan Rodgers’ tenure. With every loss, Celtic Park’s “tough place to go” tag got weaker and weaker.
But Lennon’s new-look side are earning that phrase back again. To take nine points from nine against Cluj, Lazio and Rennes would be an outstanding achievement. It would also help crank up the noise for the round of 32 clash in February – a round we have struggled badly in over the years.
So as you settle down to watch us take on the side from Brittany tonight, just remember that there might be more riding on this match than you think.