TOM Boyd had his fair share of big games in the green and white hoops of Glasgow Celtic. The former captain won nine titles in his time at Parkhead including three Scottish Cups and three League Cups, so he was no stranger to big occasions at Hampden.
He was also no stranger to the odd cup upset in his playing career. That’s why Boyd understands the disappointment following Celtic’s loss to St. Mirren in the League Cup and how the players will want to respond to that with a big result against Juventus next Tuesday.
Promoting ESPN's weekend coverage of the top of the table clash between Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Celtic, Boyd said Neil Lennon's men still have much to look forward to.
He said: “This season has gone very well overall. Obviously everyone was disappointed in the cup loss but over the course of the season I think it’s more than acceptable where we are just now.
"We’re in the last 16 of the Champions League which is a huge bonus and the team is there on merit in terms of the level of performances they’ve given, so this tie is something I’m sure they’ll look forward to.”
The no-nonsense defender is under no illusions that the last 16 tie with the Old Lady on Tuesday will be difficult for his former side. However Boyd has been keeping an eye on Juventus’ erratic domestic form and believes anything is possible at Parkhead.
He said: “When you looked at the start of the year Juve were flying at the top of the league, but since the draw was made they’ve stuttered in terms of a few of the performances.
"It’s still going to be a difficult game but the Celtic team has grown in stature in Europe. Neil’s got them playing exceptionally well; they’re great as a team, great as a unit and they can go into this tie full of confidence.”
Before Celtic play under the lights of a sold-out Parkhead they have the task of playing Inverness in the league this weekend. There will be a temptation by players to have one eye on Tuesday however the Scotland Hall of Famer believes Neil Lennon will sort out that attitude before the game.
“I’m sure Neil will get the players focussed on Inverness at the weekend. It’s easy to be distracted by the Juve game. If Neil says to them “Listen you’re playing for your place against Juventus” I’m sure the players will be focussed for it. He doesn’t need to say too much to motivate the players for the weekend but that will probably be the tactic he uses.”
THAT Barcelona game is the result every Celtic fan will point out to you as their reason for believing the Bhoys can upset the odds again. The result has already gone down in Celtic history and the crowd’s impact has also been well-documented.
Boyd thinks the Hoops faithful can play their part again next week but that caution should be given to the Italian giants.
“I think the Juve game will be more difficult because the expectation level has changed now. With the Barcelona game nobody expected anything and in the first leg we were very unlucky. The home leg at Celtic Park was one of the very best atmospheres I’ve ever experienced and that might have an impact on the game against Juventus.
“You’re playing in front of 60,000 in one of the best atmospheres in the Champions League its one of those special nights. I think it’s in our favour being at home in the first leg.
"I’m sure Celtic will still be in the tie by the end of the game and if that’s the case then they can go out and give it a go. As long as you still have a chance and you’re still in it by the end of the first 90 minutes who knows what will happen over there.
"The advantage is that we’re home first and playing in front of our support and we’ll still be in the tie for the second leg.”