Feyenoord, Atletico Madrid, Lazio – Tough draw but a manageable route to last 16

Tough draw or manageable route to the last 16?…

Celtic fans light flares during the UEFA Champions League Group F football match RB Leipzig v Celtic FC in Leipzig, eastern Germany on October 5, 2022.  (Photo by RONNY HARTMANN/AFP via Getty Images)

The nerves and excitement of the UEFA Champions League group stage draw are over with Celtic handed a tough but reasonable group.

Feyenoord, Atletico Madrid and Lazio.

Rotterdam, Madrid and Rome.

Three famous European cities that Celtic fans will inevitably take over in their droves.

But on the pitch, is there hope for European progression or will Brendan Rodgers side struggle to make an impact in Europes premier competition once again?

Last season

Celtic showed glimpses of an ability to compete in the Champions League last season. Performances such as those in the 1-1 away draw with Shaktar Donetsk and the breathtaking first half display against Real Madrid were small positives in what was overall a disappointing showing in Europe from Ange Postecoglou’s side.

However, of the 11 who played Celtic’s opening Champions League home defeat against Real Madrid last season, seven remain at the club (eight including Kyogo who did not start).

That experience for younger players such as Hatate, O’Riley, Abada and even the slightly older Greg Taylor will prove invaluable this season.

The quality that Celtic faced last season in Europe’s premier competition cannot be underestimated either, a simple look at the players who managed to put the ball beyond Joe Hart makes for interesting reading.

Shakhtar Donetsk’s Ukrainian forward Mykhailo Mudryk celebrates scoring the 1-1 goal during UEFA Champions League Group F between Shakhtar Donetsk and Celtic FC in Warsaw on September 14, 2022.  (Photo by JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Mykhailo Mudryk who was responsible for ripping Celtic apart on two occasions last year is now a Chelsea player after moving for £62 million in January of this year.

Christoper Nkunku is also now a Chelsea player, moving to the London club for £52 million.

Expectations this season

Throughout last season, Celtic struggled to perform to a high level for the whole 90 minutes of a match. It could have been a case of second season syndrome for Ange’s men or simply a lack of ability to play such a high intensity game for a full match.

There was hope that this season, with a slower possession-based style and a tactically flexible manager in Brendan Rodgers, along with a sizeable transfer budget that we could compete further in Europe.

(Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

However, an indifferent start domestically (we are still top of the league looking down on theRangers) and a mixed, (though now improving) window has put a dampener on expectations for progression in the Champions League this season.

A slightly easier group when compared to last year will give Rodgers’ side hope they can leave their mark on the competition, but showings so far must improve if they are to do so.

New, hungry signings and players returning from injury will dare Celtic fans to dream of special European nights once again in what will be last current iteration of the UEFA Champions League.

James French

READ THIS…Mick can’t even say ‘Celtic’ – “The team we’re playing against aren’t coming in a fantastic place”

Help raise funds for Celtic Youth Academy by playing the Celtic Pools Weekly Lottery and you could win up to £25,000. The lottery is £1 per week and if you join today you will receive a Champions League Scarf.
Help raise funds for Celtic Youth Academy by playing the Celtic Pools Weekly Lottery and you could win up to £25,000. The lottery is £1 per week and if you join today you will receive a Champions League Scarf.

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  1. I’m all for being optimistic but let’s just start with trying to bag ourselves even a solitary win.

  2. There is nothing in our current form that would make you think we could get a goal,never mind a point. Feyenoord whacked Shaktar 8-2 on aggregate last season after we struggled against them for example.