THERE are mixed messages out there about what Celtic fans expect from the team playing in European football. Getting back on the supporters’ bus behind the Jock Stein stand, where the bus conveniently waits for an hour or so before moving, allowing me to write The Celtic Star match report, the driver had Clyde’s Super Scoreboard on the radio.
Hugh Keevins was busy painting a gloom and doom picture for Celtic, pushing his latest theme that the support has now completely given up on European football and we regard it as an irrelevance. The Celtic support have surrendered our European ambitions, is his contention.
This was on the radio less than ten minutes after the final whistle when Celtic had just thrashed league leaders Hearts by five goals to nil. Someone reckoned on another Celtic site that The Celtic Star had done a podcast with this clown – not guilty.
Then inside Celtic Park Brendan Rodgers was also talking about the Celtic supporters expectations for success in Europe and he reckons that we are being way too optimistic in believing that the Europa League is there for the winning.
“Playing European football is important for everyone here,” Brendan said at the post match media conference.
“I don’t think the ambitions have changed, we still want to be a Champions League club. But in order to do that we have to win the domestic league and then try and look to build.
“You have to look at getting to the knockout stages of the Champions League. Of course, it is more difficult and I am a realist.
“The expectations for Celtic…is to really push on in European football even though it is extremely difficult. That always has to be our aim.”
Yesterday’s result against the team that had only a few weeks ago opened up a big gap at the top of the league was significant for Celtic, who are now just one point behind with a game in hand. That takes the club a little step close to the Champions League next season, the place we really aspire to be. For now though the attention turns to Thursday and the visit of RB Leipzig in the Europa League.
“It’s the competition that every club, every director, every supporter, every player and every manager wants to be in. But if you don’t get there you are still in a prestigious competition.
“We’ve won our first game, lost the next two, but it’s still a great experience to be involved in.
“A win on Thursday keeps us alive. We know it’s tough, but we go into the game with a confidence and it’s about imposing our way of playing.
“What maybe gets overlooked is the quality of the opposition. Whatever your expectancy or history is, that doesn’t help you now. You are up against good teams and top-class players.
“But at home we always look to find a way to win and that will be important for us on Thursday.
“I thought in Leipzig that there were areas we could have been better in,” Brendan said.
“Take away all the finance and everything else, we could have defended better for the two goals. It is what it is.
“We qualified into the Europa League, we are in a tough group, and we are enjoying the challenge. We’ve arrived at the next stage now and we are looking forward to the game on Thursday night.
“That will be a very important one for us.”
Celtic Park on Thursday night, under Disco Pete’s Lights, will see a very different Celtic performance from the away games in Leipzig and Salzburg. Can’t wait…
Also on The Celtic Star…
Watch Celtic Fans TV Post Match reactions to yesterday’s 5-0 win…See HERE.
Jim Craig – The Battle of Montevideo…See HERE.
‘The birth of the new Young Lions of Celtic,’ David Potter…See HERE.
‘People will now know our capabilities,’ Rodgers Pride…See HERE.
Five Star Celtic hammer Hearts…See HERE.