Barcelona - Celtic Preview: La Liga giants missing a host of players ahead of Hoops visit
After recording their first ever away win in the Champions League proper, the Bhoys will be looking to continue the trend, but the talent of the Spanish giants may prove too much
By Alex Young
Montoya, Song, Mascherano, Alba
Fabregas, Xavi, Iniesta
Alexis, Messi, Villa
Lustig, Wilson, Mulgrew, Izaguirre
Forrest, Ledley, Commons
Sergio Busquets will serve the first of a two-match ban for his red card against Benfica, Xavi started the weekend's game against Deportivo on the bench and will likely come into midfield for his fellow Spain international.
Gerard Pique (ankle) and Carles Puyol (elbow) are missing from the heart of the Blaugrana's defence, Alex Song was the latest to partner Javier Mascherano at the back at the weekend, and will likely continue.
Dani Alves (hamstring) is also still working his way back to fitness so youngster Martin Montoya will continue at right-back.
James Forrest (groin) and Scott Brown (hip) pulled out of Scotland's squad for the recent international break and then sat out Celtic's 5-0 win over St Mirren on Saturday with injury concerns, but are expected to feature from the off at Camp Nou.
Kris Commons (hamstring) also missed the league game at the weekend after featuring for the Tartan Army but is expected to regain fitness for the trip to Spain.
Mikael Lustig and Emilio Izaguirre started on the substitutes' bench, with Georgios Samaras missing out altogether, on Saturday after returning from international duty later than his domestic team-mates - but all three are in line for inclusion in the Champions League tie.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Barcelona are unbeaten in their last 17 Champions League home games (14 wins, three draws).
- They have scored in each of their last 31 home games in the group stages.
- Lionel Messi (pictured, right) has been the outright top scorer in each of the last four editions of the Champions League: he netted nine goals in 2008-09, eight in 2009-10, 12 in 2010-11 and 14 last season.
- Messi has netted 53 goals in the Champions League, only Raul (71) and Ruud Van Nistelrooy (56) have more to their name.
- Celtic have won just one of their last 27 away games in Europe (W1 D6 L20) - their 3-2 win over Spartak Moscow in matchday two.
- Neil Lennon's charges have never had a player sent off in a Champions League match.
- Celtic have failed to score in five of their last nine Champions League matches.
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Top 3 Predictions
FC Barcelona 3-0 Celtic
- 17.59 %
FC Barcelona 3-1 Celtic
- 14.17 %
FC Barcelona 4-1 Celtic
- 11.94 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Oct 1, 2013||Celtic 0 - FC Barcelona 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Nov 7, 2012||Celtic 2 - FC Barcelona 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Oct 23, 2012||FC Barcelona 2 - Celtic 1|
|Dec 6, 2013||F.C. Cartagena 1 - FC Barcelona 4||ESPC|
|Dec 1, 2013||Athletic Bilbao 1 - FC Barcelona 0||LIGA|
|Nov 26, 2013||Ajax 2 - FC Barcelona 1||UCL|
|Nov 23, 2013||FC Barcelona 4 - Granada 0||LIGA|
|Nov 10, 2013||Betis 1 - FC Barcelona 4||LIGA|
|8||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
|13||José Pinto Colorado||Goalkeeper|
|12||Jonathan Dos Santos||Midfielder|
The striker continued his lengthy comeback from a broken leg with a start in Saturday's 5-4 win over Deportivo, and will be determined to continue his impressive form and prove that he is truly back to his best for his club and country.
It isn't a stretch to assume that the goalkeeper will be among the busiest at Camp Nou. The 24-year-old recently earned an England call-up and will be hoping to further impress Roy Hodgson with an impressive display against the Spanish giants.
Neil Lennon's side are in top form, having won their last six league games, and will have been buoyed by the success at Spartak Moscow, but the Spanish side are an entirely different prospect. Messi, Iniesta & Co. have torn through much more renowned defences in the past and should have more than enough about them to secure a comfortable victory on their home patch.