Celtic host AC Milan at Parkhead in Group H of the Champions League on Tuesday night, with both teams desperate for a win to boost their chances of staying alive in the competition.
The Bhoys are currently rockbottom of the group, seven points behind leaders Barcelona. However, only two points separate Neil Lennon's side and second-placed Milan, meaning a win for Celtic tonight - combined with a Barcelona triumph over Ajax - will place them second in the pool.
Celtic warmed up for this tie by beating Aberdeen 3-1 at the weekend, and the Scots will fancy their chances on Tuesday, against a struggling Milan side, who have gone seven games without a win.
"They may have to prove a point to their supporters, but not to anyone else around the world. They've beaten us, they've drawn against Barça, they've drawn away in Amsterdam. Their results have been solid in the group. They have a great chance to go through and maybe that'll be the springboard for them," said Lennon.
"There's a lot of emphasis on winning this game. My players know what's at stake, they're looking forward to it. I don't think I'm feeling pressure at all. We don't want any nerves or anxiety even though it's a natural state to be in. There can be tension, nice tension, not an anxious one. We've got nothing to lose and everything to gain and that's a great position to be in," the Celtic boss added.
Milan, on the other hand, can secure the runners-up spot in Group H with a win in Glasgow tonight, provided Barcelona beat Ajax in the other fixture. Even a draw at Parkhead will be a good result for the Italians, considering they are set to host Ajax in the last gameweek.
However, they are in the midst of one of the biggest slumps in their illustrious history and currently sit 13th in the Serie A table, just four points above the drop zone. As mentioned earlier, they are without a win in their last seven matches, with confidence hitting an all-time low. But Massimiliano Allegri's men are confident of bouncing back soon.
"This is an important match, even if a win may not be enough for us to qualify. Celtic are strong and they play aggressively so we'll have to be good technically and tactically. It'll be very difficult. Celtic have only lost two of their last 11 games at home in the Champions League," Allegri pointed out.
"Too many times recently we haven't performed. For the first part of the season we had three objectives: qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League; then Serie A, which is not going as well as we could have hoped; and eventually the Coppa Italia. It's natural that the fans are disappointed - everyone at the club is. We have to improve but the fans have to get behind us," the Italian added.
Celtic have posted a win and two draws from the two sides' last three previous meetings at Parkhead.
Celtic: Captain Scott Brown and fellow midfielder Nir Baton serve the last matches of their European suspensions, while defenders Adam Matthews (shoulder) and Steven Mouyokolo (Achilles) remain long-term absentees. However, winger James Forrest has recovered from a hamstring issue that kept him out of the Scotland squad and the weekend game. Forward Anthony Stokes is also available, after missing the Aberdeen game on Saturday due to an undisclosed personal problem.
Milan: Allegri has two fresh injury concerns asPhilippe Mexes (eye) and Sulley Muntari (groin) joined Stephan El Sharaawy (foot), Marco Amelia (knee), Cristian Zaccardo (ankle), Mattia De Sciglio (knee) and Giampaolo Pazzini (knee) among the list of players sidelined for this clash. However, Daniele Bonera has returned from a knee injury and made his season debut at the weekend.
Where to Watch Live
The game is scheduled for a 1.15 am IST start on Wednesday morning, with no live coverage in India. You can catch the action live online by clicking the link HERE. To live stream the action in North Africa and the Middle East, click HERE. To watch the match in the U.S. via Fox Sports click HERE. To catch all the action via live streaming in the U.K., click HERE.
Celtic: Forster; Lustig, Ambrose, van Dijk, Izaguirre; Kayal, Mulgrew, Ledley; Commons; Samaras, Stokes
Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Bonera, Zapata, Emanuelson; Poli, de Jong, Montolivo; Kaka; Matri, Balotelli