Former Hearts attacker Rudi Skacel doesn’t think Slavia Prague should be fearful if they face Celtic.
The Czech champions are in line to play the Hoops if Neil Lennon’s men can overcome CFR Cluj. The potential playoff tie would pit two very similar ranked sides together – and Skacel doesn’t think Slavia would be daunted at all.
“Celtic are a strong team but I don’t believe Slavia have anything to worry about,” the Czech told The Herald.
“We will find out a lot from the match at Parkhead – and if they can compete there, then they have a big chance to progress.
“It will be a very even tie. For Celtic, advancing to the Champions League is a similar priority to winning the Scottish league – it is such a crucial thing and they have better experience than Slavia.
“But there are a lot of players left at Slavia from their previous success in the Europa League – they have also experienced Chelsea and, if they can perform on that stage, they have nothing to worry about. I believe Slavia can do it.”
Skacel is right, but the same can be said for Celtic
Of course, Lennon’s side have a big test in front of them to even get to the Playoff round. But let’s just assume we’ll beat Cluj, and take a look at our chances against Slavia.
The Czech side clearly have something about them. They made it to the quarter-finals of the Europa League last season and beat perennial tournament winners Sevilla on route. They have a close knit bunch of players who fight for each other.
However, Slavia don’t have a great deal of Champions League qualification experience. They’ve not made it to the group stage of Europe’s premier competition since 2007. Celtic have been there five times since then with four of those qualifications coming through the ‘Champions route’.
Slavia may not be daunted by coming to Glasgow but you’d still expect us to beat them. If we could take a handy lead and a clean sheet over to the Czech Republic then we’d be well placed to see the job through.
They should be more fearful of us than we are of them. We’re the team with more Champions League experience after all.