Both Scottish sides in the Champions League suffered opening day defeats with Scottish Champions Celtic going down 3-0 to European Champions Real Madrid at Celtic Park and theRangers losing 4-0 in Amsteram 24 hours later against Dutch champions Ajax.
In the other matches in their group Shaktar Donetsk secured an unexpected 4-1 away win in Germany against RB Leipzig to top Group F after the opening fixtures. This evening the Ukranian Champions play host to Celtic in the Polish capital city, Warsaw, due to the war in their country caused by the Russian invasion earlier this year. If you aren’t able to watch the game you can keep track on Celtic live scores easily enough.
In Group A, the 4-0 defeat to Ajax left theRangers bottom of the table but Liverpool’s result, losing 4-1 away to Napoli was their biggest ever defeat in the Champions League, left the Anfield club with plenty to do in what is looking like a tight group with three sides realistically eyeing a place in the knock-out rounds next year.
And there was has already been a match in Group A where Liverpool last night defeated Ajax 2-1 in what was a very close match at Anfield. A late winner was needed and the Dutch side, having missed a glorious opportunity to take the three points moments before, will feel hard done by to leave England empty handed.
So that leaves Serie A leaders Napoli, travelling to Scotland to take on theRangers at Ibrox and looking to bring the form that swept last season’s Champions League runners-up aside a week ago.
Celtic received well deserved praise from media, pundits and supporters for their performance against Real Madrid last week, but the Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou was unimpressed with his team’s failure to remain in the game after losing the crucial first goal. The Australian boss recognised that his side were more than a match for Real Madrid for an hour but saw no reason why his players couldn’t maintain that standard for the entire match.
This afternoon Postecoglou will be looking for exactly that from his players in a match that before a ball was kicked, represented Celtic’s best chance of getting away points in their first season back in the Champions League in five years.
After the 4-0 hammering from Ajax, theRangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst bemoaned the lack of transfer investment, claiming that his side would need £100m to compete at this level. Remember only last season, theRangers got all the way to the Europa League Final, losing in a penalty shoot-out after the match against Eintracht Frankfurt ended 1-1.
It has to be said that theRangers performance in Amsterdam was awful, the manager’s comments defeatist in the extreme and that leaves the challenge this evening as being monumental if the Scottish club, playing their first ever home match in the Champions League group stages, is to get any points on the board.
Can Celtic get a result in Warsaw against current Group F leaders Shaktar? Will Napoli continue their spendid form by sweeping theRangers aside at Ibrox to go three points clear at the top of Group A? Or can theRangers rediscover their Europa League form to take something from the game tonight?
We’ll find out this evening with Shaktar Donetsk v Celtic being the early kick-off (5.45pm) before the match at Ibrox between theRangers and Napoli starts at 8pm.