Scottish Premiership side Celtic FC will have to play in the Champions League qualifiers next season but with a slight difference.
Instead of the usual two-legged tie, UEFA have decided that the qualifiers will be playing in a one-game knockout fashion in order to safe time. And speaking on this topic, Celtic FC manager Neil Lennon admitted that the governing body of football has made the right decision.
Lennon said, as reported by the Daily Record: “It’s like everything at the moment – you need to adapt.
“But UEFA have come to a decision and it’s probably the right one in trying to condense it all. If the games are behind closed doors then home advantage is not a massive difference.
“We’ve seen it with the results in the Bundesliga where a lot of the home teams haven’t won. We’ll get them on the pitch and get them adapted to playing at Celtic Park with no fans – which is going to be really strange for them.
“It works both ways. Home advantage is a huge plus for us because of the support we have. I wouldn’t say we’ll be disadvantaged as such but players love to play in front of big crowds.”
While many fans think Celtic FC will have a better chance of qualifying for the group stages of the Champions League but according to former Hoops striker Frank McAvennie, the Parkhead outfit could be in for a tough time in the next couple of months.
“Regardless of whether they are home or away, Lenny will have them ready,” he told Football Insider.
“Over two legs Celtic should beat the so-called lesser teams but anyone in football will tell you that in a one-off match anyone can win.
“If they go away and they are not up for it you can rectify it when they come back to Celtic Park so that would be a bit dangerous. Anything can happen so it is risky.
“But I just think it is terrible that a team who wins the league in Scotland should be playing that many qualifiers. It is not right. It really is not.”
Playing a knockout game certainly have it’s downsides but Lennon is clearly looking at the positives of this temporary format.