Saturday 24 March 2018

Brown promises 'reaction' against City as Hoops lick wounds

Scott Brown:
Scott Brown: "It was bad enough losing 6-1, but 7-0 beats anything else I’ve ever had". Photo: Getty

Roddy Forsyth

It's scant consolation for the Celtic players whose Champions League campaign began with a traumatic 7-0 thrashing in the Nou Camp that they merely made up to a round dozen the number of teams used by Barcelona as crash dummies in the past year.

Celtic are not even the worst victims, a painful distinction which belongs to Deportiva La Coruna, who were beaten 8-0 in La Liga on April 26.

Valencia were subjected to a 7-0 drubbing in February and then you have your list of those who have conceded six goals - Villanovense, Atletico Bilbao, Celta Vigo, Getafe, Sporting Gijon and Real Betis, plus Roma in the Champions League last December, a few days after Barca had scored four against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu.

Nevertheless, this was Celtic's worst European result and the hurt went deep, especially for Scott Brown.

The captain was also part of the team under Neil Lennon thrashed 6-1 in the Nou Camp in December 2013, but this defeat was beyond anything in Brown's experience.

"I've never lost a game by seven," he said. "It was bad enough losing 6-1, but 7-0 beats anything else I've ever had. We should be doing better than that, but it happened and we've got to accept it, face up to the reasons why it happened and get on with things - starting at Inverness on Sunday."

Brown was one of two Celtic players - the other was Scott Sinclair - whose performances bore scrutiny under extreme pressure.

For Mikael Lustig, switched infield from his right-back beat to form a central defensive three with Kolo Touré and Erik Sviatchenko, the evening was equally chastening.

"Barcelona are a great side and they can do that to anyone, but that is no consolation," Lustig said. "It is about pride. Of course, you can say we faced the best attacking players in the world, but to let in five goals in the second half wasn't good."

Lustig refused to blame Moussa Dembele, whose weak penalty at 1-0 was easily saved.

"Moussa didn't have to apologise," said Lustig. "He has scored two vital pens for us this season. We are in this together, as a team. On Saturday, he was a big hero with his hat-trick, and on Tuesday - well."

Brown, meanwhile, had already turned his thoughts to Celtic's next Champions League challenge.

"I definitely think there will be a reaction against Manchester City," he said. "We've let ourselves down and need to respond strongly. We've beaten Barcelona and AC Milan before at home." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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