The Parkhead club former captain was back at his old stomping ground on Saturday for the 3-0 victory over Ross County. It was an encounter in which Spurs loanee Cameron Carter-Vickers netted with a fortunate deflection on his debut while Joe Hart, who arrived from White Hart Lane, produced an important block at 1-0. Lambert considers these two players, and Celtic armband-wearer Callum McGregor, will be required to give the lead to Postecoglou’s remoulded side in their daunting Andalusian assignment.
“Without a shadow of a doubt it is on these kind of nights that it needs to be when the big players step up and step forwards,” said the 52-year-old of such scenarios being the order of the day for the Martin O’Neill Celtic side he played in across the early 2000s.
“I’m pretty sure that’s what will happen on Thursday in Seville. Joe Hart has been through it before, there’s the likes of Callum who’s a national team player and has been through it. Cameron-Vickers has played in big games with Tottenham and knows all about it as well. It’s about those bigger players having the ability to keep a cool head on things when you go into games like this one. It will be a helluva tough game going to Betis. It will be a helluva tough group as well [with Bayer Leverkusen and Ferencvaros]. But at the same time it will be great for Celtic to be a part of it.
“I thought Cameron-Vickers was excellent [against County] and he’ll get better with time as well. Joe Hart has made a big difference as well with the sorts of saves he’s made. Callum McGregor keeps on getting better every time I see him. I thought he looked a bit tired against County after being away with Scotland but that kind of thing is normal anyway. But it’s now just about time for the manager and the squad. The club has been through a lot of transition but there’s a lot of good stuff out there for Celtic right now.”