Hector Bellerin labels facing Celtic as "special"

By David Walton

September 12, 2021

Real Betis defender and Arsenal loanee Hector Bellerin has stated that the prospect of facing Celtic on Thursday night is “special”.

Bellerin is currently with the La Liga side on a season-long loan agreement from the Emirates. It takes Bellerin back to his homeland where he hasn’t played since his youth days with Barcelona back in 2011.

Betis will host Celtic on Thursday as they kickstart their Europa League campaign in Andalusia. The two sides on paper look like the main contenders to battle it out for second place, so the importance of the contest won’t be lost on either side.

Photo by Denis Doyle – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

And Bellerin has been talking up the game as he admits he can’t wait to face the Hoops for the first time.

As quoted by the Daily Record, the right-back said: “To play against Celtic will be special because they’re such a big club with a big history. Celtic will be a tough rival but I’m optimistic. At Betis, we’re obliged to get the three points.

“We have already watched the derby against Rangers and that result puts pressure on Celtic. If we can dominate the ball against them, we can get the win we need. I’ve left Arsenal to win things with Real Betis. I’m not here for a holiday.”

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Real Betis trip presents a brilliant opportunity for Celtic

Travelling to Betis could be seen as one of the more difficult contests of Celtic’s Europa League group. Therefore, some may view it as positive that we can just get it out of the way or perhaps feel we’ve had hard luck in getting this particular fixture first.

But if anything, this is a glorious opportunity for Celtic. With Betis having yet to win a competitive game this season, they’re hardly operating at peak efficiency so far. Granted, tomorrow night’s game against Granada could help them rediscover their form.

Even then, they’ll have less than 72 hours to prepare for Celtic’s visit. The Hoops will have had over two days extra to get themselves ready for this one. Another potential pro for the Bhoys.

Photo By Joaquin Corchero/Europa Press via Getty Images

Betis won’t play Celtic with a fatigued look to them of course. It’s extremely early in the season and that will likely show in how Betis approach the game. They won’t look to sit back and will try to demand plenty of the ball.

But if Celtic can come out with the win or even a draw, it’ll be a fine start to the group stage. We saw how important it was to eke out a 1-1 draw in Rennes under Neil Lennon two years ago in our opening Europa League match. This has a similar feel to it on Thursday night.

Whether Celtic can deliver on the night is anyone’s guess. But this is going to be a clash that will determine for certain just where Celtic are in their development.

In other news, Albian Ajeti sends defiant message to Celtic manager and support