Celtic Park has one of the best atmospheres in European football, a fact widely accepted by fans of the sport. The place can be absolutely hopping on European nights, and that has driven the team on to grab some unlikely victories in the past.
While continental competitions usually bring the best out of the fans, the Old Firm game is right up there too. The rivalry between Celtic and Rangers is a fierce one, and it only seems to be intensifying now that Rangers have got their act together somewhat under Steven Gerrard.
Ahead of tomorrow's meeting between the sides, Gerrard has been playing down the effect the atmosphere in the stadium will have on the outcome of the game. When asked if Celtic Park will be similar to a 'lion's den', the Liverpool legend gave a bit of a strange reply in which he got down to the specifics as to what that term actually means.
— PLZ Soccer (From 🏠) (@PLZSoccer) March 29, 2019
What do you mean by 'lion's den'? There's not going to be any lions there is there? It's a football pitch, the same size as the one we play on at Ibrox. It's 11 men versus 11 men, I've never known a fan to win a football match.
A set of fans can make noise can make noise and make the atmosphere very interesting for everyone so that we can all enjoy, but it's a not a lion's den. A lion's den is when you jump over a cage and you've got four lions chasing you and you're fearing for your life.
He clearly does not think all that the Celtic fans can influence a game. Except he does.
Prior to taking the job in Glasgow, Gerrard was a regular pundit on BT Sport. Speaking before a European game at Parkhead, he outlined his own experience of playing in the ground and said that it did indeed affect his performance.
— John Sludden (@FACT290) March 29, 2019
The atmosphere here tonight is going to be electric. John would know better than me, but I was lucky to play here one night in Europe, and you can feel it as an opposition player, I'm sure you did as a home player.
For the first few minutes I was a bit lost with noise, you're sort of in awe of the noise. Before you know it you can be a goal down or you can be right under pressure from the cosh, so it's going to be big for Celtic tonight to get the crowd behind them.
Now that he is in charge of the club's arch rivals, that opinion has obviously changed. He will be hoping that his pervious comments don't come back to bite him tomorrow.