It’s the battle of the green and white tonight as Celtic face Hungarian champions Ferencvaros in the second qualifying round at Celtic Park.
The qualifying process has been simplified to one knock out game until the play off round and Celtic know what they must do, win.
The Hungarian’s defeated Swedish champs Djurgardan last week, winning 2-0. Both goals were scored by Tokmac Nguen, the 26-year-old Kenyan winger signed last year from Stromsgodset. He has played 42 times and scored 12 goals, so one to keep an eye on. Ferencvaros played 7 away games in Champions League qualifiers and Europa League last season and were undefeated on the road, five draws and two wins, so could prove stuffy opposition. Ultimately, despite only losing one game in their group they never made it to the knock out stage. They are managed by former Spurs, West Ham and Ukraine player Sergei Rebrov.
Celtic boss Neil Lennon moves ahead of his former manager Martin O’Neill, by managing Celtic for the 54th time in European competition, add his eight games in Europe with Hibs and Lennon sits in fourth with only Jim McLean, Walter Smith and Jock Stein having managed a Scottish side in Europe more times.
Lennon knows this tie is a step up from the rout over Reykjavik last week.
“This is a step up for us in comparison to Reykjavik and its fair to say they’re a stronger team than we hoped to play at this stage.” Lennon told the assembled media yesterday.
“When you think at this stage last season, we played Nomme Kalju of Estonia and we negotiated that one with no problems. Ferencvaros were in the Europa League last year and were undefeated away from home against Espanyol, Moscow and Ludogorets in their group.
“This is tough, but its a game we’re looking forward to. The players have adapted pretty well to everything we have asked of them so far.
“This is a game in which the crowd would have been really important to us, so we need to generate our own motivation, intensity and tempo to have that aggression in our play from the off.”
Mick Kane hails from Glasgow. He has been hooked on Celtic since he went to his first game when he was 7. Celtic beat Hamilton 8-3 at Celtic Park on the 3rd of January 1987. His favourite player at the time, Brian McClair scored four goals.
He started going regular as a 16 year old when Celtic played at Hampden for the season, being a Southsider it meant a short train journey to get to Hampden. From then he has had a season ticket travelled around Europe for games as Celtic became the dominant force in Scottish football again. A nice change from growing up during Rangers run to 9 in a row.