Can Celtic Make Waves in Europe Under Brendan Rodgers?

Can Celtic Make Waves in Europe Under Brendan Rodgers?…

Brendan Rodgers has returned to Celtic Park and hit the ground running. The Bhoys are the strong favourites to win the Scottish Premiership title, but can they go far in Europe this season?

Tough Champions League Group

Feyenoord v Celtic, UEFA Champions League, Group E, Football, De Kuip, Rotterdam, Netherlands – 19 September 2023 Photo Bart Stoutjesdijk/Shutterstock

Celtic have been drawn into a difficult UEFA Champions League group. The Hoops are up against Feyenoord, Lazio, and Atletico Madrid in Champions League Group E. However, they will prolong their European season if they avoid finishing at the bottom of the group. Looking at the latest football betting odds, the Celts are priced at 4/1 to qualify from Group E.

Of course, Atletico Madrid are fancied to win the group. Diego Simeone’s men have made a strong start in La Liga, though they did drop points against Lazio in their opening Champions League matchup. Feyenoord, who won the Eredivisie last term, could also be a tough nut to crack in Group E, encouraged by their opening home win over Celtic on match-day one.

As you know Celtic’s Champions League campaign got up and running with a disappointing defeat to the Dutch side. Feyenoord scored two goals without reply, and the Bhoys ended the game with nine men after two red cards.

Rodgers’ troops must make Celtic Park a fortress if they are to secure a top-three finish in Group E. They have an incredible home record under Rodgers, and the Glasgow giants will relish the opportunity to welcome the likes of Lazio back to Paradise.

Callum McGregor of Celtic FC during the UEFA Champions League match between Feyenoord and Celtic FC at Feyenoord Stadium de Kuip on September 19, 2023 Photo VI ANP Sport/Jeroen Putmans

After the Lazio match, Celtic’s next European home fixture will be against the Madrid side. Their third and final Champions League game at Celtic Park will see them entertain Feyenoord in December. Celtic would love to finish in the top two and book their spot in the knockout phase of the competition. However, third place will see them enter the UEFA Europa League, which they would have a far greater chance of winning.

They missed out entirely last term after finishing rock bottom in Group F despite playing very well in most of the games. Changes were missed and at Champions League level that can be very costly indeed as many sides have discovered to their cost. When the chances come along against Lazio tonight Celtic cannot afford to pass them up and the players know that from last season’s frustrations.

Feyenoord’s Lutsharel Geertruida (L) vies with Celtic’s Matthew O’Riley (R) during the UEFA Champions League  match between Feyenoord and Celtic FC at the Feyenoord Stadium in Rotterdam on September 19, 2023. (Photo by JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images)

Can Rodgers Replicate the Success?

Brendan Rodgers is back in Glasgow after a stint in England with Leicester City. The Northern Irishman spent three successful years at Celtic Park the first time around, guiding the Hoops to two Scottish Premiership titles, two Scottish Cups, and three Scottish League Cups and left the team on course for a third consecutive treble, which Neil Lennon saw over the line.

Celtic have made a strong start to the 2023-24 league campaign and look like a good bet to retain the title. They have already seen off fierce rivals theRangers this term and also their manager Michael Beale who was sacked on Sunday evening after falling seven points behind Celtic.

Kyogo Furuhashi of Celtic scores the winning goal during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between theRangers and Celtic at Ibrox on September 03, 2023. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The telling moment came in that early-September fixture at Ibrox when the excellent Kyogo Furuhashi netted the only goal on the stroke of halftime to give an injury hit Celtic a 1-0 victory.

The next Glasgow Derby game will take place at Celtic Park the day before Hogmanay. Celtic will aim to be well clear of their city rivals before that festive fixture. As always, the Premiership is the priority, and beating rivals theRangers to top spot in the league is why Rodgers was brought back to Celtic Park.

However, the Bhoys could be up for a cup run in Europe this season. Finishing in the top three of Champions League Group E will not be easy, but can Celtic extend their European season into 2024, as Brendan Rodgers has repeated stated is the target.  We’ll have a better idea later this evening.

COYBIG

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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