Group H: Celtic
Did you know?
Celtic have lost just once at home in the groups
How They Qualified:
Story So Far
After another dramatic Glasgow night in the play-off second-leg victory over Shakhter Karagandy, Neil Lennon's Celtic are again looking forward to what could be some more memorable Champions League games. The summer sales of Victor Wanyama and Gary Hooper are big losses to the squad but Celtic still have their core together and they again won the Scottish top flight in 2012/13. Games under the floodlights at Celtic Park are a highlight.
Can They Be Confident?
Celtic could not have been given a much more difficult draw after coming out of the pot to be placed alongside the European royalty of Barcelona, Ajax and AC Milan in Group H. It is this season's unquestionable group of death. But Lennon's squad relish the tag of continental underdogs and after their shock win against Barcelona last season they will hope for more of the same. They will not be lacking in spirit.
Although often written off by critics, the striker has led from the front and his experience will be vital after Hooper's exit.
Versatile and a fierce competitor, he has become an integral component of Celtic's plans for success.
The goalkeeper has emerged as one of the best in Europe and is now in England's plans after some excellent displays.
Who will they face?
Frank De Boer's Eredivisie champions have not lived up to previous standards in the Champions League but remain a tricky opponent.
In the true tradition of their club, Ajax will always look to play a passing game which is attractive to watch and can bring good rewards.
They can sometimes be a little lightweight when playing Europe's top teams and they have a poor record against Spanish opposition.
Not the force they once were and had to qualify through the play-offs to reach the groups but they still ooze European pedigree.
Striker and former Manchester City man Mario Balotelli remains a familiar face and is a mixture of both the balmy and the brilliant.
Found out by Barcelona in the last 16 of the 2012/13 competition and they will know they are not in the same class as the Spanish giants.
Gerardo Martino is of course the new man in charge at Camp Nou and he will want to prove that he can build on the legacy he has inherited.
The core of the squad - not least a certain Lionel Messi - and philosophies which have built such success over recent years are all still in place.
Did last season's heavy defeat over two legs by Bayern Munich represent a new era? Have rivals worked out Barcelona's weaknesses?
Celtic 4 Juventus 3 - October, 2001 - Two goals from Chris Sutton inspired a fabulous win but it was not enough to stop them going out in the groups.
Celtic 1 Man United 0 - November, 2006 - A stunning Shunsuke Nakamura free-kick and a penalty save from Artur Boruc helped Celtic into the knockout stages.
Celtic 2 Barcelona 1 - November, 2012 - Victor Wanyama and Tony Watt put Celtic two goals in front to mean Lionel Messi's late goal was only a consolation.
December 16th, 2013 1:52pm
Pellegrini looking forward to Barca test
Manuel Pellegrini is looking forward to facing Barcelona in...
- 2012/13: Last 16
- 2011/12: Europa L groups
- 2010/11: Qualifying round
- 2009/10: Play-off round
- 2008/09: Group stage
Facts And Figures
1Last season, Celtic reached the knockout stages for the first time since 2007/08
2Number of times Celtic have beaten Barcelona in their last four meetings
4No side scored more headed goals than Celtic in the group phases
16%Amount of possession Celtic had against Barcelona in last season's home win
0Celtic's number of away wins against Italian sides in their last 10 attempts