Buffon: 12th man never scored any goal

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon insists he will not be intimidated by a 60,000 sell-out Celtic Park tonight.

The 35-year-old Italian international was on the bench in October 2001, when Juventus lost 4-3 to the Hoops at Parkhead in a dramatic Champions League qualifier.

That was not his first experience of a Glasgow football crowd, having played for Parma against Rangers in a Uefa Cup match at Ibrox in 1998, which ended in a 1-1 draw, and again in a Champions League qualifier the following year when the Light Blues won 2-0.

However, while Celtic Park gears up for another great European night when the Old Lady of Italy visits for the first-leg of the Champions League last-16 clash, Buffon refused to buy into the cliché of the crowd being the 12th man.

He said: “I have played here (Glasgow) two or three times with Parma and Juventus although the last time 10 years ago I was on the bench.

“It was the last match in the group and we had already qualified.

“The atmosphere is very British in many ways but as far as I can remember, no fan has ever scored a goal.

“Certainly the crowd can help Celtic but only to a certain point.

“The opponents can’t get carried away with this and must focus on their own game.”

Buffon, though, does not believe that keeping a clean sheet will guarantee Juventus a safe passage into the quarter-finals.

He said: “If I don’t concede a goal tonight then we can be sure that we will at least get a draw which will be something that would be very good to build on for the second-leg, but only to a certain extent.

“It’s not a case of us going out to attack and Celtic going out to defend, both teams will play to their strengths to try to win the game.

“It wouldn’t be categorical that we would be going through if I don’t concede a goal tonight but it would certainly be a good start.”

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has warned doubters not to underestimate his side but Juventus coach Antonio Conte has heaped praise on the Bhoys.

He said: “If anyone has underestimated Celtic, it has certainly not been us. We have great respect for them. We have followed Celtic very closely and they were very strong against Spartak, Benfica and Barcelona and even before that in the qualifiers.

“They are a very good team. To beat Barcelona here and to go close in the Nou Camp is proof of that.

“We are going to have to be very careful tonight.”

More in this section

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox