Some would call it a glamour tie, others would call it a monumental task. Whatever way you spin it, Partick Thistle will be up against it when Celtic come to Firhill.
It’s respite from a league campaign of highs and lows but it doesn’t get much tougher than facing the Hoops. It’s a challenge McCall’s Thistle have already faced once this season.
In his first game Celtic handed the Jags a 5-0 defeat. It was a show of strength but McCall at least knows a bit more about his players now and what to expect from today’s opponents.
Can Thistle actually pull this off though? Almost everyone is writing them off and an unlikely progression would surely be one of the biggest in the competition’s history. There’s a fairytale waiting to be made but the chances of history being created are stacked against them.
1995 was the last time a Thistle side beat Celtic, a 3-1 win on their travels. For Stuart Bannigan though, this is a case of Mission Impossible for the Maryhill natives.
“The task at hand, they’ve won ten trophies in a row, they are flying,” said Bannigan. “It’s an impossible job for us really but we’ll go out there and try to play.
“We’ll try and nick a result, you never know.”
Making a name for yourself
For McCall, this is a wonderful incentive for his players. The chance to pull off something so big, so surprising, would certainly send shockwaves around Scottish football.
Celtic are on a relentless run and whoever stops them will be hailed, a place in Scottish football history known as the team that halted Celtic’s trophy run secured.
It has to motivate you regardless of the odds and McCall agrees with this mindset. For him, the likes of Stuart Bannigan, Scott Fox, James Penrice and the rest of the Thistle squad can leap into Scottish football folklore with a huge win.
“There’s no point in saying ‘We’re going to do this’ or ‘We’re going to do that’ because it’s a huge task they have,” said McCall. “But surely they’ll be thinking that – without saying they’d be Thistle legends – they could be the men who finally end Celtic’s quadruple Treble thing.
“Hopefully, that will be a motivational factor for them because it would be a real feather in their cap. We’re better prepared than we were in September. Back then we didn’t know the names of all the players. It was a crazy night.
“I don’t think we’d had a single training session with them before that tie. But that’s not to say the scoreline won’t be the same because Celtic and Rangers can do that to you.”