What Belgian media say as Celtic take on Anderlecht

The clubs' last meeting in Glasgow brings back memories of 'a monster and 60,000 madmen'.

Anderlecht players train under the Celtic Park lights. SNS

Celtic host Anderlecht in the final group game of the Champions League, with Belgian media having their say ahead of the clash.

Anderlecht require a three-goal winning margin to pip Celtic to third place and the Europa League spot.

It is a challenge the Belgian papers believe is beyond Anderlecht, particularly when past visits to Glasgow are taken into account.

Recalling their last trip to the east end of Glasgow, one paper described the 3-1 defeat in 2003 as being blown away by "a monster and 60,000 madmen".

For those wondering, the monster was John Hartson.

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'Hartson the monster and 60,000 madmen'

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Het Nieuwsblad has cast an eye back over Anderlecht's 3-1 loss at Celtic Park in 2003 as it builds up to Tuesday's game.

The newspaper warned Anderlecht's players of the challenge that awaits them at the "mythical" Celtic Park, insisting Belgian players, fans and journalists are set for an unforgettable evening.

In 2003, Celtic prevailed 3-1 over Vincent Kompany and co in Champions League Group A, with Anderlecht "blown away by 60,000 football-crazy Scots and a monster named John Hartson" according to the paper.

On that night goals from Liam Miller, Henrik Larsson and Chris Sutton proved the difference as Martin O'Neill's Hoops secured a vital victory.

'Mission Impossible'

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Anderlecht must win by three goals or more to nick European football after Christmas from Celtic's grasp.

It is a task one paper regards as "mission impossible" while another describes as "an extremely difficult assignment".

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Their chances of upsetting the odds have been all but written off. 

The Belgians boast a dismal record on the road in Europe having not won away from home since December 2005. The memory of their 3-0 defeat in Brussels to Celtic also lingers in memory.

Not only that, an indifferent start to the domestic campaign has left supporters expecting the worst.

Anderlecht sacked manager Rene Weiler one week before their 3-0 loss to Celtic in Brussels, with Hein Vanhaezebrouck taking permanent charge seven days after leaving rivals Gent.

While form has improved somewhat, a poor start to the season compounded by defeats to Gent and Standard Liege leave Vanhaezebrouck's side seven points off the pace, despite winning 2-1 on Saturday against Lokeren.

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All hope is not lost

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All hope is not lost, however, as chairman Voor Vanden Stock oversees his 200th European game.

The Belgian media are hoping it proves lucky as Anderlecht look to extend their Euro campaign beyond Christmas.

Should they fail, it will be the first season in 13 years when no Belgian side features in European football after Christmas.

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