Monday 19 March 2018

Kayal believes five-star Celtic can 'do the job' in Barca clash

St Mirren 0 Celtic 5

Roddy Forsyth

Celtic can claim parity with Barcelona in one respect ahead of tomorrow night's Champions League encounter in the Nou Camp. Both teams scored five goals away from home on Saturday for victories that kept them top of their league tables.

Now the question is how far Celtic can stay in step when the pair meet in a Group G fixture that sees both sides bring unbeaten European sequences to the party.

A Barca spy monitored events in Paisley, where he was surely struck as much by St Mirren's taste for self-destruction as Celtic's performance. The occasion was over as a contest midway through the first half, by which stage Gary Hooper had snatched his obligatory goal and Efe Ambrose had netted his first for the club.

Victor Wanyama's subsequent double raised questions about how committed Celtic would be after the break, but although Saints were more cohesive in the second half, they could easily have conceded another three instead of the single goal -- a fine header by Tony Watt in the closing minutes.

St Mirren were so feeble that it is tricky to make assumptions about exactly how good Celtic were, but Neil Lennon's players were full of belief. They were without Scott Brown, Kris Commons and James Forrest.


The returning Beram Kayal was willing to contemplate the shift in standard which will be required in the Nou Camp.

"It was my first game after injury and I'm happy to play 90 minutes," said the midfielder. "It was a good performance. We controlled the game. It's not easy to win 5-0 but we made the game easy for ourselves.

"It is going to be a different game in Barcelona. The Champions League is totally different. But we'll also do the job in the Nou Camp.

"We are always looking to the next game. As soon as the St Mirren game was finished, we immediately started to prepare for Barcelona.

"We always believe we can do something in every game. The team has a lot of confidence now. Barcelona are the best team in the world but we are going there believing we can do something."

The mention of Barca's superstar forward evoked a touch of gallows humour from Kayal. "How do you play against (Lionel) Messi? I think 11 players will go to mark him," was his wry response. "But seriously, we are not playing just against Messi, Xavi or Iniesta.

"We are playing against the best team in the world. They are going to have control of the game and it will be hard but we are going to try to do the maximum we can and our manager will prepare us tactically. We will all do our job." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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