It’s been five years since Celtic recorded one of the most famous victories in the club’s 129-year history when they downed the mighty Barcelona 2-1 at Celtic Park. And it might feel like even longer in light of the Bhoys limped out of the Champions League and into the Europa League this week.
Neil Lennon’s inspirational Hoops displayed tenacity and ruthlessness to stun their illustrious Catalan opposition and place Celtic on the verge of reaching the Champions League last 16.
Lennon’s men defied the odds to beat a Barça side managed by the late Tito Vilanova and inspire epic celebrations in Glasgow that are cherished to this day.
It was also sweet revenge for the Glasgow club after suffering heartbreak in the Camp Nou just two weeks earlier, losing 2-1 thanks to an injury-time goal from Jordi Alba. In front of an electric Celtic Park atmosphere, though, Celtic bettered the European heavyweights despite having just 16 per cent possession (the lowest recorded by Opta for a winning team in the Champions League).
Of course, most of that side have moved on now, including Lennon – who is now managing Hibernian in the Scottish Premiership – so it’s worth running through the heroes from that night and seeing what they’re up to now.
Not all of them have gone on to achieve great things, but Forster has established himself as one of the Premier League’s best keepers after moving to Southampton in 2014.
The 6ft 7in stopper produced a string of top-class saves to deny Lionel Messi that night, catapulting him into the spotlight and thrusting him into the reckoning on the international stage, being capped six times since November 2013.
The Swedish defender was deployed at right-back against Barcelona, having joined the Scottish side from Rosenborg in January that year. Now 30, Lustig is still at Celtic and remains an important part of Brendan Rodgers’ defence. He recently made his 200th appearance for the club.
The Nigeria international centre-half had joined from Israeli club Ashdod that summer and was given the unenviable task of stopping the likes of Messi, Pedro and Alexis Sánchez running riot at Celtic Park.
However, he performed his defensive duties admirably and went on to help Celtic to four successive Premiership titles during his spell at the club before linking up with Lennon once again at Hibs last season.
Celtic 2-1 Barcelona (2012) 🍀⚽ UEFA Champions League
5 years ago today , We still remember 💚 pic.twitter.com/H86f9D785Y
— Celtic Videos 🍀 (@CelticVideo) November 7, 2017
Over the two games against Barça, Wilson put in two of the biggest shifts of his career – and impressed enormously. His work-rate, discipline and awareness to track the runs of Barcelona’s forwards did not go unnoticed as he returned to his former club Nottingham Forest for £2.5million the following summer.
After three seasons at the City Ground, Wilson, now 32, is currently with Rotherham United in League One.
The full-back was a regular for Lennon during his four years at the club. Matthews, naturally a right-back, started on the left and was tasked with stopping Sánchez. He didn’t give the Chilean a kick, marshalling him expertly all night in one of his finest displays in green and white.
Matthews moved to Sunderland in 2015 but only managed 14 appearances and is currently on his second successive season-long loan at Championship promotion hopefuls Bristol City.
The attacking midfielder scored 19 goals for Celtic that season and completed more passes than any of his teammates that night with 22 (paling in comparison to Xavi’s haul of 166, mind).
Commons went on to enjoy a wonderfully prolific 2013/14 campaign, scoring 32 goals. After six decorated years at the club, he joined Hibs on loan last season but has been without a club since the summer. At 34, the 12-time Scotland international has recently hinted he is close to hanging up his boots.
The powerful Kenyan scored the opener against Barça with a towering bullet header to set Celtic on their way to a momentous three points. Despite only being 21, he showed a composure and maturity that belied his years and it wasn’t long before he was snapped up by Southampton.
After spending three seasons at St Mary’s, the defensive midfielder is now one of the key men under Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham Hotspur but is yet to feature this season due to injury.
The midfielder worked tirelessly in the middle of the park all night to stop Barça’s intricate passing moves and was rewarded with the ‘greatest moment of his career,’ as he put it. He also nabbed Xavi’s shirt at the end, which is certainly something to show the grandkids.
Now sporting a bushy beard, the former Cardiff City youngster spent three years at Crystal Palace before joining Derby County in the summer and was also part of the Wales squad that reached the Euro 2016 semi-finals in France.
Mulgrew was Lennon’s first signing for Celtic in the summer of 2010 and, in his second spell at the club, he caused Barcelona problems with his dead-aim from set-pieces, setting up Wanyama’s opener from a corner.
Mulgrew signed for Blackburn Rovers in August 2016 but couldn’t help guide the Lancashire club to safety as they were relegated to League One. He was a Sheffield Wednesday transfer target in the summer but a deal never materialised.
Georgios Samaras (c)
The totemic Greek striker became something of a cult hero during his time at Celtic and was captain on the night with the talismanic Scott Brown out through illness. Like his teammates, Samaras covered every blade of grass being deployed in the wide left position and typically endeared himself to the fans.
He left the club in 2014, moving to West Bromwich Albion. However, it didn’t work out for him at the Hawthorns and has since played for Al-Hilal, Rayo OKC, Zaragoza and is currently at Samsunspor in the Turkish second tier.
Enigmatic Venezuelan Nicolas Ladislao Fedor Flores – better known as Miku – endured a significant culture shock after joining the Hoops on transfer deadline day from Getafe.
Miku held the ball up well to down Barcelona, though, and described the win as ‘amazing.’ Unfortunately, it didn’t serve as a launchpad to greater things in Glasgow. The former Valencia man struggled with the language and eating meals at different times.
He never settled and moved on to Al-Gharafa, admitting that joining Celtic was a ‘mistake.’ If only all of our mistakes could involve beating Barcelona!
The one-time Poland international keeper is currently at Pogoń Szczecin having left Celtic in 2015.
The man once dubbed ‘The Derry Pele,’ left Celtic in 2013 and had spells at Barnsley, Brighton & Hove Albion, Luton Town and Glenavon in his native Northern Ireland. He is currently at Finn Harps in County Donegal.
The attacking midfielder was only 18 and was an unused substitute. His Celtic career never took off, only managing two senior appearances before joining Blackpool in 2015. He is now at Raith Rovers in the Scottish third tier.
A £250,000 signing from Airdrie United, Watt came off the bench to score Celtic’s second in a crowning career accomplishment, capitalising on a rare Xavi mistake before lashing a ferocious effort past Víctor Valdés.
Watt has never matched such dizzying heights, though, and is currently being managed by Nigel Pearson at Belgian second-tier side Oud-Heverlee Leuven after spells at Standard Liège and Charlton Athletic.
The Israeli midfielder replaced a shattered Samaras in the 79th-minute, helping Celtic see out the game. He stayed at Celtic until 2015 but has been a regular under Chris Hughton at Brighton. The 29-year-old is currently recovering from a broken leg.
Like Herron, Fraser was only 18 and was kept on the bench. He only managed one senior appearance for Celtic before moving to Ross County in 2015.
Another one of Lennon’s youth prospects, McGeouch also left Celtic in 2015 and is currently a starter for the Northern Irishman at Hibs.