Team ‘spirit’ buoys Celtic for huge Barcelona test

Sin­clair be­lieves self-be­lief can help Rodgers’ men sur­vive Camp Nou trip

The Herald - Herald Sport - - FRONT PAGE - MATTHEW LIND­SAY CHIEF FOOT­BALL WRITER

SCOTT SIN­CLAIR last night re­vealed that Celtic’s play­ers have the col­lec­tive self-be­lief they need to get a re­sult against Barcelona in the Nou Camp fol­low­ing their five-goal maul­ing of Rangers.

Sin­clair net­ted for Bren­dan Rodgers’ team in the em­phatic 5-1 vic­tory over Mark War­bur­ton’s side in the first Old Firm game of the 2016/17 cam­paign at Celtic Park on Satur­day.

The winger be­lieves the tri­umph was the pre­fect prepa­ra­tion for the Glas­gow club’s open­ing Cham­pi­ons League group game against Barca in Spain to­mor­row evening.

“The spirit is so high and so is the to­geth­er­ness in the camp,” he said. “You can see it on the pitch with ev­ery­one fight­ing for each other. If we keep that spirit, we can keep win­ning games.

“The form we are in with wins, it’s great for spirit. We go to the Nou Camp with noth­ing to lose. No-one is ex­pect­ing us to win 5-1, but we will just go there and do the best that we can do. We have got the be­lief to go there and try to per­form. That is all that you can do. The spirit is what we need and all we can do is give it 100%.”

Sin­clair added: “With the Rangers game, we hadn’t been think­ing about Barcelona, but when it was fin­ished, we started look­ing and the man­ager started ad­just­ing and we go to the next one.

“The man­ager will de­cide how we are go­ing to set-up, but it’s go­ing to be a great oc­ca­sion for us. We have noth­ing to lose, as I said.

“We go into games 100% ev­ery time and that’s all we can do in the Nou Camp.”

Sin­clair and his Celtic team-mates will line up against some of the big­gest names in world foot­ball in the Camp Nou – Lionel Messi, Ney­mar and Luis Su­raez could all start the Group C match.

How­ever, the £3.5 mil­lion sign­ing stressed that he was rel­ish­ing the op­por­tu­nity to play against Barcelona and

was op­ti­mistic the Scot­tish cham­pi­ons could take some­thing from the game. “I’ve never been there be­fore,” he said. “It’s a first for me. The names don’t spook play­ers. It’s a chal­lenge be­cause you are fac­ing the world’s best. As play­ers, you want that test and there is not re­ally much bet­ter you can face.

“Each team has 11 play­ers, so all we can do is try to com­plete our job and see what we can get from the match.”

Leigh Grif­fiths, who was ruled out of the game with Rangers at the week­end af­ter fail­ing to re­cover from a calf in­jury, will be un­avail­able for the Barcelona tie to­mor­row night. How­ever, Sin­clair has to­tal faith in Moussa Dem­bele, the 20-year-old French striker who be­came the first Celtic player in 50 years to score a hat-trick in a league game against Rangers, be­ing able to cope with the oc­ca­sion.

“Griff be­ing out was tough, but Moussa has stepped into the team, scored a hat-trick and done a great job,” he said. “With the squad we have, it’s great. You can’t get much bet­ter than a hat-trick against Rangers.

“He is a young guy who is work­ing on his game and he keeps pro­duc­ing. If he keeps scor­ing hat-tricks like that, any­thing can hap­pen. You can see all of his at­tributes. He is big, he is strong and that’s what you need as a striker.”

THAT WIN­NING FEEL­ING: Celtic’s Scott Sin­clair cel­e­brates his goal against Rangers on Satur­day and is now rel­ish­ing the Cham­pi­ons League trip to Barcelona.

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