GLASGOW (Sporting Alert) — Experienced Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon says the Serie A leaders must quiet down Celtic Park early in their Champions League last-16 clash on Tuesday night.
Hosts Celtic are buzzing with the belief that they can upset Juventus and Buffon has called on travellers to kill the atmosphere with a good start in Glasgow.
“I’ve already played here with Parma and Juventus and experienced a red-hot atmosphere. We know what lies ahead,” Buffon said.
“The crowd can certainly help and provide a boost to the players, but only up to a certain point.
“It’s players who score the goals, not spectators.
“It will be down to us to ensure the supporters don’t get too excited.”
Meanwhile, Celtic boss Neil Lennon is confident his team can deliver again, just as they did when shocking Barcelona in the group stages, but admits that his players must remain focused for the entire duration of the contest.
“The players looked in very good spirits this morning and are in good condition,” Lennon said.
“The majority of them trained and, like myself, they’re all looking forward to it and the challenge that lies ahead from Juventus.
“This has been one of my best achievements – to bring these nights back to Celtic Park. It’s the only show around – a European night at Celtic Park.
“It’s a fantastic football arena and for me, it’s one of the best atmospheres in world football, never mind European football, and it’s for our supporters tomorrow night.
“Obviously, the players will play their part, but for me to bring these nights back to the club is a something that means a lot to me, and anyone who has experienced a Champions League night here before will know what I’m referring to.
“Anything can happen over two games. We go into the tie as underdogs, but nothing is going to be decided at the end of the 90 minutes tomorrow night.
“It’s over two games and we’re prepared to play hard football over 180 minutes.”
Georgios Samaras and Efe Ambrose returned to training, but the pair still remain doubtful for the game.
Samaras is fighting to recover in time from a hamstring injury, while Ambrose, who featured for Nigeria in their African Nations Cup final win over Burkina Faso on Sunday, is all set to miss out as he will only return in Glasgow hours before kick-off.
“We will make a decision on Georgios Samaras tomorrow,” the manager said. “Emilio Izaguiire trained today so he is fit to join the squad.
“James Forrest is fit to join the squad, and we’re expecting Efe Ambrose to arrive tomorrow morning.
“We’ll see what condition he’s in – and I would like to pass on my congratulations to Efe and his country on winning the Africa Cup of Nations.
“It’s also great exposure for our club to have a player winning such a prestigious event, and we’ll see how he is tomorrow afternoon and evening, but if he’s okay, we’ll have him in the squad as well.
“We’ll give Georgios as much time as is needed. He’s been doing some pretty aggressive rehabilitation work and we’re hopeful he’ll be okay. If not, I have a very strong squad, and we’ll have him fit for the second leg