Former Celtic midfielder Stiliyan Petrov has opened up on the night Celtic tragically lost out to Valencia in 2001.
In a mouth-watering UEFA Cup third-round clash, the La Liga giants pitched up at Paradise looking to protect a one-goal first-leg advantage. They failed to do it as Henrik Larsson levelled the score and took the game to penalties.
Unfortunately, however, missed spot-kicks by Larsson, Petrov, and Joos Valgaeren ensured it was the Spaniards who qualified on a memorable night in Glasgow’s East End.
And as Celtic get set to welcome Valencia to Parkhead once more 18 years on, Petrov has told of how incredible Paradise was on that famous night. Speaking in the Daily Record, Stan said the following:
“That was an incredible night at Celtic Park. The atmosphere was unbelievable and even the Valencia players were shocked at the noise.
“It was so disappointing losing on penalties, especially when we had a lot of chances to win the tie. I’ve tried to forget my penalty!
“But what Celtic do have is Celtic Park. It’s a special place and incredible things can happen there. We’ve seen it so many times over the years. The fans start from the first minute and it really lifts the players. It’s electric.”
Fans have a huge part to play tomorrow
There’s no denying the massive role the Celtic fans have tomorrow night. The Hoops faithful have roared their team on to big home results against the likes of Rosenborg (x2) and RB Leipzig this season.
Every one of the 60,000-odd supporters tomorrow night needs to put in a similar performance. The unrivalled atmosphere at Celtic Park has had an effect on the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the past.
Therefore, there’s no reason why they can’t stun Valencia’s patched-up squad either.
Brendan Rodgers’ men will come into the game looking to do what Martin O’Neill’s class of 2001 couldn’t. But revenge is unlikely to be on any of the players’ minds.
Here’s hoping that the only thing that remains the same from that unfortunate December night 18 years ago is the boisterous support.