Celtic v Valencia. It’s mouth-watering, and if you look at our general record vs Spanish sides, it should be worrying.
After all, Celtic have lost five of their last six games against Spanish opposition. They’ve conceded in 13 of their last 14 matches against La Liga outfits too. The only time they didn’t was against Villarreal’s glorified reserves in a dead-rubber Champions League game in 2008.
But, to counter that, Celtic will also be looking to keep up a proud run of form against Spanish sides over the years.
At Celtic Park, Celtic have played 16 different matches against Spanish sides. They’ve only lost on five of them, with Barcelona understandably inflicting three of those defeats on them. Atletico Madrid got the two others.
That means that out of the seven different La Liga sides Celtic have faced over the years – only two have secured wins at Parkhead. Valencia wasn’t one of them.
In fact, the Mestalla outfit have visited Parkhead twice now in competitive action.
The first came back in 1962 and was the club’s first ever competitive European game at home. The Spanish outfit secured a 2-2 draw to back up their 4-2 home win one month previously. Celtic were knocked out of the Inter Cities Fairs Cup, despite a late equaliser from Pat Crerand.
Valencia’s Parkhead clashes
The second meeting is a lot more recent, and many supporters will remember it well.
Valencia pitched up at Parkhead looking to consolidate their 1-0 lead in the third round of the 2001/2002 UEFA Cup.
Henrik Larsson gave Celtic a deserved lead on the night and put them level on aggregate just minutes before the break. But despite a real end-to-end clash at Parkhead, the game would go to penalties.
Larsson, Stiliyan Petrov, and Joos Valgaeren all missed from the spot to send Celtic crashing out. It was a success for Valencia on the night, but the Hoops won the leg.
Other Spanish sides to have played and never won at Parkhead include Real Madrid, Celta Vigo, Villarreal, and Real Sociedad.
So, for all of the troubles Celtic may have had in Spain (we’ll get to that next week), there’s not a lot to complain about with the home form. They continue to have a proud Parkhead record vs Spanish sides and will be looking to continue that when Valencia come calling on Thursday night.
Here’s hoping they can remain on the list of Spanish clubs who haven’t won in Glasgow’s East End.