Living in the shadow of Lions

Posted by Andy Muirhead

Celtic squads past and present have one thing in common - failing to live up to the legendary side which won the 1967 European Cup beating Inter Milan 2-1 in Lisbon.

And so it is up to another generation of Celtic players to tackle the ghost of the Lisbon Lions.

Of course European football has moved on since the days of the Lisbon Lions, no longer is Europe's premier club competition about the best of each nation playing against the best. It is a free-for-all for the richest leagues and the richest clubs. In fact it is a huge cash cow for those clubs participating and Celtic are no different. So the chances of this current crop of Bhoys matching the achievement is an impossible task given the funds and the talent on offer at Parkhead, compared to the money and the talent at clubs like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund. Even the Russian clubs have more chance than Celtic of securing their place in the latter stages of the competition, as they are funded by oil-rich magnates. Celtic may have some of the richest men in British football, but these are businessmen and run the club within a strict business model.

It is certainly not a rich man's play thing like Chelsea or Manchester United, and it will not be run into the ground like it's stricken city rival Rangers.

The full Celtic squad that is set to try and storm their Champions League group is as follows:

List A: Kris Commons, Emilio Izaguirre, Beram Kayal, Scott Brown, Dylan McGeoch, Tony Watt, Charlie Mulgrew, Efe Ambrose, Nicolas Miku Fedor, Fraser Forster, Gary Hooper, Joe Ledley, Mikael Lustig, Adam Matthews, Paddy McCourt, Lassad Nouioui, Thomas Rogne, Georgios Samaras, Victor Wanyama, Kelvin Wilson, Lukasz Zaluska, Anthony Stokes.

List B: Joe Chalmers, James Forrest, Marcus Fraser, Filip Twardzik.

It is surprise that new goalkeeper Lubos Kamenar is not in the squad given that the whole reason he signed with Celtic was because of their qualification to the group stages of the competition. However, Neil Lennon has kept his faith in number one keeper Fraser Forster and his understudy Lukasz Zaluska. However he could still make the squad if either Forster or Zaluska pull out through injury during the campaign.

The other recent signings Efe Ambrose, Lassad Nouioui and Miku Fedor are included.

Celtic's task is a huge one given the opposition they face - Barcelona, Spartak Moscow and Benfica. However, having faced all three clubs before they are certainly no strangers to manager Neil Lennon and his team.

Can the likes of Joe Ledley and Scott Brown live up to the past midfield maestros Bobby Murdoch and Bertie Auld? Can Thomas Rogne and Charlie Mulgrew be as steady as a rock just like Billy McNeill and John Clark? And can Gary Hooper and Georgios Samaras live up the strike force that was Willie Wallace and Stevie Chalmers?

Whatever happens during Celtic's European campaign, the new bhoys will forever walk in the shadows of the Lisbon Lions with the old guard cheering on the young pretenders through every minute of their games against Barcelona, Benfica and Spartak Moscow.

The Celtic club of this season have already won off the park by securing at least £15 million in revenue, now can they win on the park?

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