Former Celtic Assistant praises Paradise atmosphere but makes European progress admission

Former Celtic Assistant Manager Chris Davies has spoken about the failure to make any real progress in Europe during his time at the club. Davies was appointed by Brendan Rodgers in May 2016 and remained in Glasgow’s East End until departing with the Irishman for Leicester City in February 2019.

Speaking to The Coaches’ Voice, Davies praised the Celtic Park atmosphere but said that the challenge of adapting the current style to face Europe’s Elite teams was challenging and ultimately lead to little progress.

“It was different when it came to the Champions League, though. The atmosphere at Celtic Park was incredible. I’ve seen elite players, coaches and staff members taken aback by the noise that came out of the stadium. I used to joke that the fans were like hyenas because of the screeching that came out of the stands.

“We were often playing against the best – Manchester City (below), Barcelona, Bayern Munich, PSG – and we had some memorable nights in Europe.

Celtic line up against PSG (ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

“I do think it’s difficult to be so dominant on a weekly basis in the league, often having 70 per cent of the ball, and then adapt to play such different games in Europe. It’s like a different sport.

“Moving in a block, and constantly running to cut off passing lines and keep your shape against the best teams in the world. It’s just so different to the way Celtic are used to playing on a weekly basis, where they are the protagonist. It was the two ends of the footballing spectrum, and it was challenging to adapt to that.

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t make any real progress in Europe as a result.”

Celtic were on the end of some humbling scorelines, such as the defeats to PSG (home and away) and Barcelona (Away) during Rodgers’ tenure. The European progression point is worth accepting but Rodgers and Davies did get Celtic back at the European table in back-to-back seasons having navigated the qualifiers. They were probably unfortunate that the team were given some brutal draws in the two seasons.

Rodgers was at the Celtic helm for two and a half years. The ex-Liverpool manager won seven trophies in a row, an Invincible Treble, a 69-game unbeaten run and numerous other successes before being replaced by Neil Lennon when he left for Leicester in February 2019.

About Author

Born just as Celtic were stopping the Ten, Lubo98 follows Celtic home and away and helps run his local Celtic Supporters Club. He goes to all the games and is a Law Graduate. Has a particular fondness for Tom Rogic among the current Celts and both Lubo and Henrik form his earliest Celtic memories.

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