The Black Beast
Inter Milan arrive in Glasgow this week bringing with them the whiff of glamour and history lacking at times in the bread and butter games of the SPFL. The draw which paired two of Europe’s best known sides was greeted with cautious optimism at the San Siro. Inter CEO Marco Farssone said of the tie with Celtic…
‘It is certainly a Classic, all Inter fans remember the European cup final and the glorious team of the 60s. It’s a fantastic tie there are great emotions about playing at Celtic Park, it will be fantastic. Both clubs have a strong history and are well known not just domestically but internationally.’
Indeed the spectre of Lisbon in 1967 is one which still haunts Inter Milan. Celtic’s great side were of course named the Lisbon Lions after their great feat but one popular Italian football website calls Stein’s side the ‘Bestia Nera’ (the black beast- or nightmare) which brought to an end the golden era of Herrera and his fine Inter side. They recall the salient fact that while Celtic may not be the most difficult tie that Inter could have been landed with in the Europa League, historically the Hoops remain a tough nut for them to crack…
‘Celtic is definitely not the most tricky team to face that it was a few years ago but it is historically indigestible to Inter. The Nerazurri in the previous three meetings have never been able to beat the Scots.’
Indeed the victory Inter secured on penalties in the 1972 European Cup Semi Final was only partial revenge for Inter’s destruction and humiliation in Lisbon. Gazetta Della Sport stated recently…
La parziale rivincita col Celtic arrivò pochi anni dopo nella Coppa dei Campioni 1971/72 quando Inter e Celtic si ritrovarono in semifinale e fu l'Inter a spuntarla, imponendosi ai rigori nel ritorno in Scozia dopo un doppio 0-0, conquistando così il biglietto per la finale di Rotterdam persa contro l'Ajax del calcio totale.The partial rematch with Celtic came a few years later in the 1971/72 European Cup when Inter and Celtic found themselves in the semi-finals. Inter was dull but won on penalties in the return to Scotland after a double 0-0, thus winning the ticket for the final in Rotterdam where they lost against Ajax. Fu una parziale rivincita, ma quella finale di Lisbona fa ancora male dopo tanti anni: la storia non si può cambiare, ma Roberto Mancini ei suoi ragazzi possono dare un piccolo contributo a renderla meno amara. It was a partial revenge, but the final in Lisbon still hurts even after all these years: that story cannot be changed, but Roberto Mancini and his boys can make a small contribution to making it less bitter. Ci vediamo in primavera, Celtic. See you soon Celtic!’
Inter arrive in Glasgow sitting in mid table after a poor start to the season. They have however won their last 2 games well and confidence is higher than it was. Celtic fans will know to expect a tactically aware, street wise team who will use every trick in the book to get a result and it has not gone unnoticed that the Hoops have failed to beat Italian opposition on the last 7 occasions they have met. (D2 L5) Mancini, like Ronny Deila, is in the middle of reforming the team and with tight finances is relying on loans, free transfers and developing what he has to achieve this. He knows the British game well after his years at Manchester City and is a sharp coach who will examine Celtic with forensic scrutiny looking for weaknesses. Make no mistake about it despite Inter’s average form in Serie A, this is a huge task for Celtic. Inter can field players of genuine quality such as Argentinian striker Mauro Icardi and Italian midfielder Dani Osvaldo. They also have our old adversary Nenanja Vidic, who played at Celtic Park with Manchester United, and others such as Palacio, Mauro, Guarin and Kovacic who have much experience at international level.
After Inter’s impressive 4-1 victory away to Atalanta, one scorer, Rodrigo Palacio said:
“Ini selalu menjadi pertandingan yang sangat sulit bagi kami. "It has always been a very difficult match for us. Ini pertandingan yang berat, namun tim bermain sangat baik hari ini. It's a tough game, but the team played very well today. Kami bermain baik pada dua pertandingan terakhir. We played well in the last two games. Icardi absen? Icardi absent? Mauro sangat penting bagi tim karena dia yang mencetak banyak gol di tim kami, tapi hari ini semua pemain bermain luar biasa.” Mauro is very important for the team because he scored a lot of goals, but today all the players played unbelievable. "
Palacio lalu berbicara tentang pertandingan berikutnya menghadapi Celtic diajang Europa League: Palacio then talked about the next game when Inter face Celtic in the Europa League:
“Meraih kemenangan tandang selalu penting. "Winning away is always important. Sekarang kami masih punya tiga hari untuk persiapan.Now we still have three days to prepare. Kami akan pergi kesana untuk meraih kemenangan.” We will go there to win. "
That being said, Celtic are on a good run of form and have nothing to lose as few expect this team in transition to knock an outfit such as Inter out of Europe. That is how Celtic like it and it is often when they are at their dangerous best. If Deila comes up with a game plan which subdues Inter and that fantastic home support raises the roof then one never knows what might happen. Celtic Park on European nights has a quality which is often hard to define. The fans drive the team to unexpected feats and Inter will have to fight for every ball on Thursday. This match is a real test of how far Celtic has come since the shambolic exit from the Champions League in the summer. It will take a performance of great courage and concentration to get a result in this game. The fast, fluid play Celtic are showing in phases of games at the moment will need to be present throughout and there can be no silly errors at the back. The few chances that will come along must also be taken with a ruthlessness we don’t see enough of in the SPFL.
Inter have come to lay the ghost of Lisbon but if they fail to play to their best and Celtic have one of their inspired evenings, they may find the ‘Black Beast’ haunting their dreams again
We are Celtic supporters and we always have hope in our hearts.
Bring it on.
Bring it on.