Charlie Nicholas on Celtic vs Cluj

By David Walton

October 1, 2019

Charlie Nicholas’ comments on Celtic vs Cluj suggests that he doesn’t believe the Romanians fluked anything at Parkhead.

The controversial Sky Sports pundit has already gotten under the skin of Celtic supporters recently by claiming he didn’t like the fact that Odsonne Edouard doesn’t celebrate exuberantly. It was something that seriously angered many in the Hoops fanbase.

However, Nicholas has clearly moved on from it and has been discussing this week’s Europa League games involving British sides. Celtic face Cluj in a revenge mission for what happened last month. Cluj scored four times at Parkhead to knock the Hoops out of the Champions League.

Cluj knocked Celtic out of the Champions League in August (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

And, despite the fact many Celtic fans believe Cluj got us on a good night in Glasgow, Nicholas doesn’t think so. As he previewed the game to Sky Sports, this is what he had to say:

“Everyone in Glasgow is talking about revenge as Cluj put Celtic out of the Champions League. They made it out to be a fluke, but you cannot lose 4-3 and say it is lucky.

“Cluj are a very clever side – they took on Lazio, who are one of the favourites for the Europa League, and reminded everyone of who they are with a smashing 2-1 win.

“Celtic gained a very good point at Rennes and could have come away with more. The crowd at Celtic Park gives the players another five to 10 per cent and that’s what will be the case here. It will not be a rollover, it will be tight but think Celtic will just edge it – it could be late on when the goals come.”

Cluj had quality in August, but Celtic should’ve won

Celtic fans generally believe we should’ve beaten Cluj. We feel we had the better footballers, and only dreadful organisation and defensive mistakes cost us. It looked a case of Celtic seriously bottling it on the night.

That’s the angle supporters are coming from. We don’t believe that Cluj were lucky. After all, they played some superb stuff under pressure and deserved their win for how they coped with the occasion.

Neil Lennon will know his side should’ve beaten Cluj (Alex Nicodim/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

But supporters are still entitled to feel Celtic should’ve done better. It’s the only time ever in Champions League qualifying that we’ve managed to lose four goals at Parkhead. Even more bewildering was the fact that Cluj were kept quiet on their own patch in Romania in that 1-1 first-leg draw.

Celtic supporters simply know that we can beat Cluj. Nicholas is perhaps taking things the wrong way, as nobody has come out and said that Cluj got lucky. Considering he himself even predicts Celtic to win shows you that he believes we can play better.

Charlie Nicholas feels Cluj weren’t lucky at Parkhead (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Cluj will come and look for a repeat on Thursday night, although they’ll plan for things to be a little less chaotic. From a Celtic perspective, however, we have a point to prove.

Using revenge as a motivational tool is quite right. Believing we should’ve won the game two months ago is likewise. Cluj weren’t lucky, but Celtic underperformed. Hopefully, that gets put right this week.