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Celtic have a mountain to climb at Barca: Strachan

Source:AFP.com Author:Phil Minshull Date:03/25/14 Click:

BARCELONA, Spain, March 3, 2008 (AFP) - Celtic manager Gordon Strachan obviously spends some of his free time in the Scottish Highlands as he was clearly familiar with the concept of climbing mountains here on Monday.

His team face Spanish giants Barcelona in a Champions League last 16 second leg match on Tuesday and will be bidding to claw back a 3-2 deficit from the first leg in Glasgow two weeks ago.

"It's a big climb and quite a few people have died trying to climb it," said the effervescent Strachan, looking for a metaphor to describe the task ahead in trying to overcome the 2006 European champions.

"It's difficult but we've put ourselves in this position because of the way we played in the first leg. Barcelona played very well then and I'm looking for an improvement from my players," he added.

"I want my players to put a lot of pride on it (the game) because I'm angry that we got beaten (in the first leg).

"We have a chance but we need a bit of luck. Barcelona got beaten on Saturday. They started really well but then their opponents got a deflected goal and the luck turned their way," added Strachan, reflecting on Barca's first defeat of the year at Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

"We need a bit of luck as well and then we could find a way through."

Strachan conceded that some of his players might be a little bit nervous at the thought of facing Barca in front of possibly a 98,000 capacity crowd at the Nou Camp, despite having played at Milan and Benfica in the group stage.

"When you are playing football there's nothing wrong with having a bit of fear and I think we'll have a bit of fear, and some excitement. Hopefully there will be no fear when we have the ball though," said the Scotsman.

Celtic captain Stephen McManus confessed he was slightly in awe of the star-studded Barcelona squad.

"It's not until you are on the same pitch as these guys that you realise how good are the likes of Ronaldinho, Messi, Eto'o and Henry. It think we are going to go out and enjoy ourselves and give it our best shot," said McManus.

"We are really looking forward to the game, there's not many bigger clubs...and you've always got to believe in your own ability but it's a big, big task," added the Celtic captain.

One piece of good news for Strachan and McManus is that Celtic's combative midfielder Scott Brown has been passed fit after his recent ankle problems and is expected to start against the Catalan club.

If Celtic do upset the odds, the 1967 European Cup winners will be in the quarter-finals of the continent's premier club competition for the first time since 1980.

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