BIG European nights may be a thing of the past for Massimo Donati as he spends the tail-end of his career in the red-and-white hoops of Hamilton Accies, but his recollections of a famous night under the Celtic Park floodlights remain as vivid as ever.

Propelled to one of football’s grandest stages at the tender age of 20 when he joined AC Milan, the Italian midfielder was no stranger to the spotlight by the time he arrived in Glasgow in 2007.

Now 36 years old, Donati is willing to admit that he wasn’t ready for the demands he faced at the Rossoneri, a fact borne out by the five successive loan spells that preceded his switch to Scotland.

Two seasons at Parkhead brought some memorable moments for the Italian, but none more so than getting one over his illustrious former employers when they visited Glasgow as reigning European champions 10 years ago.

Goals from Stephen McManus and Scott McDonald either side of a Kaka penalty earned Gordon Strachan’s side a famous win, with Donati playing the full 90 minutes and proving a point to his old midfield comrades Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso.

“The best nights were in the Champions League games,” he said. “They are the best ones for a footballer I think. I didn’t play in a World Cup, so maybe that’s better, but I played in the Champions League and for me there’s nothing better. The atmosphere, the music before the game, it’s all very good, you play against big players and big teams, it’s special.

“That was one of my best nights at Celtic, because [Milan] sold me after five years on loan and I wanted to show in that game that they had made a mistake.

“I was happy at Celtic and didn’t want to go back [to Italy], but I wanted to show them and that game was perfect. I had a good game, we scored in the last minute – it was perfect.”

One moment in particular sticks in the memory of many who witnessed that game. Brazilian goalkeeper Dida appeared to be slapped by a Celtic-supporting pitch invader in the 90th minute and collapsed dramatically on to the ground before being stretchered off.

The Milan man’s theatrics later earned him a two-match ban and Celtic were hit with a £25,000 fine, but Donati revealed that in the immediate aftermath of the incident there were concerns that the unlikely win could be wiped from the record.

“It was a bit scary after the game because somebody said we would lose 3-0 because of that,” he said. “When a fan goes on the pitch, the game can [be forfeit]. After the game, someone said they would appeal and win 3-0.

“I was scared but after I spoke with [Paolo] Maldini and [Milan CEO Adriano] Galliani and they said ‘no, we won’t do anything like this – you won the game’.”

Ten years later, Celtic face another daunting task in European football’s most prestigious club competition as they prepare for the journey to face Paris Saint-Germain.

The French giants ripped Brendan Rodgers’ side apart in a 5-0 dismantling on the opening day of group stage action and have gone on to win every game since.

Celtic’s gaze is now firmly set on a third-place berth that would take them into the Europa League after Christmas, with their hopes of progressing to the knockout stage already over after four games.

Despite the disappointment of losing three from four, including heavy reverses against PSG and away to Bayern Munich, Donati has been impressed by what the Scottish champions have achieved in the campaign.

“They played against biggest teams in the world,” he said. “I think it’s [a different era] now because you have teams like PSG who have spent £200 million on one player. You can do nothing, it’s too much of a difference about the money.

“I’m happy with what Celtic have done in the Champions League because they try to play every time, they have a good manager, they are very organised and they play very good football.

“It’s always difficult if you play against PSG or Barcelona, but they won four games to get to the group so against other normal Champions League teams they have shown they are better - they won away [in Anderlecht].”

Celtic won’t have the help of a partisan home crowd this time as they aim to upset the odds in Paris, but the memory of Donati’s decade-old scelp against a star-studded Milan contingent is there as evidence that giants can be toppled.