Italy No 1 thinks Serie A champions hold the edge
Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon believes that Celtic’s lack of competition in the Scottish Premier League this season could hamper their chances of overcoming the Italian title holders in the Champions League.
The two clubs meet in the first leg of their last-16 tie at Celtic Park on Tuesday night, before the return encounter in Turin, and the 35-year-old Italy international has questioned whether Neil Lennon’s side will be able to raise their game for the two contests.
“This is a very peculiar situation this year,” Buffon said in the pre-match press conference.
“It would change from player to player, not having the psychological impact of so many high-tension matches.
“We often have high-pressure matches and, if you don’t for two or three weeks, you can let your guard down and it is very difficult to get that level of tension back again.
“It happened when myself and the manager (Antonio Conte) played together in the Champions League in the early part of my career here.
“Perhaps having won the Italian championship a few weeks before, we let our guard down and didn’t play well in the final (against AC Milan in 2003) and lost.
“Maybe Celtic’s players will have appreciated relaxing a little bit before these games, but it wouldn’t be ideal for me in my own situation. Who knows for them?’
“I have played in Glasgow two or three times,’ he said. ‘But, as far as I am aware, no fan has ever scored a goal. The crowd can help Celtic, but only to a certain point. The opponents can’t get carried away with it. You have to concentrate on your own game.
“As far as the most hostile atmospheres I have played in, I would probably have to say in Turkey — at Fenerbahce and Galatasaray.”