CFR Cluj vs Celtic takes place a week on Thursday, and at face value it’s a dead rubber for us.
Neil Lennon’s side have done their jobs. In fact they’ve done more than that. Qualifying from the Europa League’s Group E as the winners with four wins from five has been incredible.
On our road to Euro success, Cluj were one of our victims. We finally managed revenge against them with a convincing 2-0 success at Parkhead. It was fine payback for them knocking us out of the Champions League qualifiers with that horror-night back in August when Cluj beat us 4-3.
However, football is a funny game. We may have got a shade of revenge in early October, but it wasn’t the same pain they caused us. But fast-forward several months and we have the chance of an ultimate revenge mission in Romania.
If Celtic get the result against Cluj and Lazio beat Rennes, Dan Petrescu’s men will bow out of Europe. Considering some of the comments that came from their sporting director Bogdan Mara after that August capitulation too, you would have a right at wanting more revenge next week (DigiSport).
Should we be the team to put the final nail in Cluj’s European coffin, it would be a highly-satisfying end to our saga with them, Considering it’s at their own stadium too, it could be a complete reversal of that Champions League defeat.
No point resting on our laurels
Some fans may have their own views on who they want to go through between Lazio and Cluj. But we have to look after our own interests. Another strong performance in Romania would be yet another positive message to send around Europe.
It’s also important to remember that there is prize-money involved on Thursday night too. Another three points against Cluj would secure us an extra €570k (UEFA). Sure, it’s hardly Champions League millions, but it’s certainly worth having.
There are financial, reputational, and emotional benefits in winning in Romania. It would, at the end of the day, be the ultimate way to secure revenge for that shocking night four months ago.
Neil Lennon will likely make some changes, but it would be surprising if we went too overboard taking all of this into account.
Cluj will certainly look to hit us with all they have considering it’s their final chance to secure qualification. It’s down to us to show our professionalism and put them to the sword