AS enthusiastic and inspiring proclamations go, Glasgow has not seen such positivity since the Rev IM Jolly last delivered his Hogmanay glad tidings.

Just over 24 hours before Anderlecht step out at Celtic Park, aiming for the victory of a generation to secure a Europa League place with a winning margin of at least three goals, Hein Vanhaezebrouck sat in front of the assembled press pack who waited on tenterhooks for a battle cry Nelson would have bene proud of. To say it didn’t arrive, well, is a bit of an understatement.

“I can already predict what’s going to happen tomorrow,” he said, without a hint of bravado. “There will be noise as soon as we come on the pitch. The crowd will be behind them – and they will fly like hell.

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“The start will be devastating. If we can survive and stay level, then maybe we stand a chance to do something.

“We have to try to get something. That would already be us doing really, really well to get something at Celtic. But to overcome the three-goal difference to continue, everything has to be perfect – and we also need all the luck in the world.

“So the chances are really, really small. But it’s not our main goal. I can’t go and tell the team we need to win by three goals. We have to be realistic. Aim for a win, a draw even would be a good result.”

Vanhaezebrouck may be taking a leaf out of Fergie’s book with some reverse-psychology Jedi mind trick. On the other hand, he may just be a pragmatist.

Anderlecht are fighting both their past and the present as they stand on the European precipice tonight. They flew into Glasgow yesterday in the knowledge that they haven’t won a Champions League game for 12 years. The baggage clunked off their aircraft at Glasgow Airport also went far beyond balls and bibs, the mental scars of having been gubbed in all five of their other Group B matches so far not exactly lifting their spirits as they made their way to Parkhead.

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“I have a big heart. So I hope,” said Vanhaezebrouck, who took over at Anderlecht in October after Celtic had already beaten them 3-0 in Brussels. “But I am a realist. So I know it’s going to be very, very difficult. We can dream but also remain realistic.

“We must be efficient and effective. There is no secret to it. You also need a bit of luck because it will be difficult. You score goals and don’t lose goals. That’s the big secret.

“They could have beaten Bayern. They had a chance to beat them. So did we. When you play against PSG, you can’t compare to that tame.

“But Celtic are still a strong team at home. Even though they won 3-0 at our place, they’re much stronger at home. So it’s a very difficult task for any team at our level to come here and take something.

“I wasn’t there when we played Celtic. I think we play differently now. I don’t say better. But this is an away game. If now we could play them in Brussels, I would say we have a good chance to win the game.

“But in Glasgow it makes a big difference – to us and to Celtic.

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“I think we have a problem to score goals in home games. If you look at our away games, the one we played in Mechlin we scored four, another we scored three, then two.

“But in the home games we apparently have more difficulty to score.

“Maybe that’s for us favourable, to score more easy here. But, if you want to reach your goal, you need to score a lot but also not lose goals. That’s not easy.”

The former Gent manager may not have seen Celtic first hand during their trip to Brussels back in September, but he is fully aware of what his team will face when they go up against Brendan Rodgers’ side this evening. A side that will have Moussa Dembele at its disposal.

“I’m never pleased when players are injured. But, for us, it would be good if some were missing,” he joked. “He’s back. OK, we have to manage him, watch him and look at he danger he can bring.

“There is much more than Moussa Dembele in Celtic. The danger can come from different areas. We will have to be good all over to get something.”

Vanhaezebrouck also had a word on Celtic’s current domestic unbeaten stretch, a run which now stands at 67 games. He added: “Celtic’s unbeaten record shows the quality of their team here in Scotland. They’re by far the strongest team.

“But also in Europe, apart from against a PSG team who are incredibly strong, their performance against Bayern showed they are at least as strong as we are.

“And their 3-0 win in Brussels means you have to say they’re even better than us. We’ll see tomorrow.”