Celtic welcome AC Milan to Celtic Park tonight knowing that a positive result is all fans will be expecting.
That may be surprising to read considering Milan are currently top of Serie A after winning all of their first four games to kick off the season.
They are managed by Stefano Pioli and have a number of top stars in their squad, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Hakan Calhanoglu, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Ante Rebic.
Ordinarily, Celtic fans would be realistic about their chances of winning a game like this – even if they had home advantage.
But this game takes on so much more significance after Celtic’s 2-0 loss to rivals Rangers at Celtic Park on Saturday.
Neil Lennon’s men were second best in every aspect of that game and were deservedly beaten by Steven Gerrard‘s side.
Fans watched on as a depleted team struggled to cope with the intensity of their opponents and barely managed to trouble Allan McGregor in the visitor’s goal.
And now Celtic sit four points behind Rangers, albeit with a game in hand.
So with AC Milan sitting in between domestic games, Celtic and Lennon have an opportunity to bring some positivity to the club after what was undoubtedly a result to forget.
Make no bones about it, drawing or beating Milan to kick off the Europa League would be huge for the Hoops.
Use the Matchbook bonus code ahead of all the Europa League group games.
They qualified for the last-32 of the competition last season, with victories over Lazio home and away a huge factor in doing that.
So doing the same against AC Milan would be huge for their knockout phase aspirations.
But it would also give Lennon, his team and the fans a huge shot in the arm after that result against Rangers.
If they don’t, Celtic face going into Sunday’s Premiership visit to third-placed Aberdeen at Pittodrie under some serious pressure.
Aberdeen have lost just two of their first 10 games in the league and will see themselves as favourites to finish in third.
So you can rest assured they will be another tough test for a Celtic team who are one negative result away from some serious doom and gloom setting in over the east end of Glasgow.
They’ll have to get past AC Milan tonight without the services of Odsonne Edouard, James Forrest, Nir Bitton, Christopher Jullien and Hatem Elhamed.
All are either injured or battling back from COVID-19 and their absence can’t be underestimated after they missed Saturday’s defeat to Rangers.
If that result showed anything, it’s Celtic’s reliance on some of their top men to get them through games.
They do welcome Ryan Christie back to the squad after his isolation from being in the Scotland squad alongside Stuart Armstrong, who tested positive for COVID-19.
But Lennon and his whole team will have to be on their best game to get a result that could be hugely significant for Celtic’s season.