Celtic have a bit of bad history with Atletico in European football, it's one of the fixtures that always features in our club history DVD's (for all the wrong reasons). The match in question was the European Cup semi-final first-leg at Celtic Park in 1974, basically our star man at the time, Jimmy Johnstone, was targeted for some rough treatment by the Atletico players in the match and you had something like 4 players sent off. Atletico won the 2nd leg in Spain 2-0 and went through to the final.
We also played in the 1st Round of the 1985/86 Cup Winners Cup. The first game in Madrid ended in a 1-1 draw but Atletico won the 2nd leg at Celtic Park 2-1, so maybe it'll be third time lucky for us this year!
In the modern day we've had some trouble competing in Europe in recent seasons, particularly away from home where our record is horrendous to say the least. I might be biased but i do think we're a far better team than that record shows. Our problem area is undoubtedly in defence though, we lack a settled central defensive partnership that can be relied upon. In midfield and attack we have talented players though. Our key men are probably Ki Sung-Yeung
, who is a midfield playmaker with fantastic passing ability, vision, and long-range shooting, Kris Commons
, who has a weapon for a left foot and also great with long-range shots, and in attack our main goalscorer is Gary Hooper
, who is your typical No.9 and an exceptional forward.
I haven't seen this season's Atletico team in action yet but looking at your team on paper i think we'll need to carry a huge amount of luck to take anything when we visit Spain for the first match. At Celtic Park though we're more than capable of beating the best on our day. Personally i'm just delighted to see my team back at this level after resigning myself to another season without European football after the Sion result.
Below is a couple of pieces of memorabillia from our previous meetings.
See you in a few weeks. Hail Hail!
1974 European Cup Semi-Final Match Programme
1985 Cup Winners Cup 1st Round Match Programme