Stiliyan Petrov: ‘Magical’ European night to inspire Celtic

Petrov enjoyed many memorable European nights at Celtic Park. Picture: Aston Villa/Getty
Petrov enjoyed many memorable European nights at Celtic Park. Picture: Aston Villa/Getty
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Stiliyan Petrov believes the electric atmosphere inside Celtic Park is set to return and it will inspire Brendan Rodgers and his players to qualify for the Champions League

Rodgers will sample his first competitive game at home tomorrow night when the Hoops bid to overturn their shock 1-0 first leg defeat to Lincoln Red Imps to progress in the qualifying stages.

With more than 50,000 set to attend home games on a regular basis, Petrov knows from experience the energy and drive created by the supporters transmits itself to the field of play and helped the teams he played in to some memorable victories.

The 37-year-old former Celtic midfielder – who played for Aston Villa in pre-season as he continues his bid to play top-flight football again after beating leukaemia – said: “I think the result last week will be just a blip for Brendan 
Rodgers and the squad.

“It’s important to keep things in perspective. If the defeat been by a few goals then there would be serious cause for concern, but that’ not the case.

“There will be a determination from Brendan and the players to put on a good performance and win the game by a few goals at Celtic Park.

“The Celtic supporters will have a role to play. I was fortunate enough to play for Celtic for seven years and the feeling of playing in front of a packed Parkhead was always a 
highlight. The Celtic supporters generate an incredible atmosphere and it will be such an advantage this season to have that back again.

“I’m sure they will help the team qualify for the Champions League. The supporters haven’t had this tournament for the past two years and they are desperate to bring it back to their club. The journey starts this week and they want to see it develop all the way through to December for the final matches in the group stages.

“I’m sure Brendan and the new signings will be blown away by the support generated by the Celtic supporters. It’s thrilling. For example, the night we beat Juventus 4-3 in 2001 was a particular highlight. The atmosphere was unbelievable. It definitely brings the best out in players.

“More recently, Celtic beat Barcelona 2-1 when Neil Lennon was the manager and, again, that was just incredible.

“With Brendan as manager, I’ve a feeling the magical European nights are on their way back. I think his appointment is a huge statement from the club.

“He is a top class manager and I’ve followed his career since he was at Swansea and then Liverpool. During my career at Aston Villa I played against his teams and the brand of football was always slick, entertaining and impressive.

“He is also an extremely good person and we had a few conversations during the years. I wish him the very best of luck at Celtic.”