Last Night Celtic Were Brilliant. Next Week We Need To Be Even Better Than That.

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Well I thought we were excellent last night. I thought we looked like a team whose players were in the mood after no football for over a week.

I thought, and particularly in the first half, that we looked clinical and imaginative.

Neil Lennon was effusive after the game in congratulating the players on getting the job done so professionally.

He was right to be pleased. He was also right to point out that things will not get easier from here on in. Indeed, they’re going to get tough fast.

Tonight we’ll find out who our next European opponents are; either will be tougher than the champions of Iceland were. Hungary and Sweden will be stiffer tests, and although we all liked what we saw last night we have to take the opposition into account.

We know that, on our game, we can take these two teams. That’s no reflection on them. It’s about how good we can be when we are really motoring. We should be confident. That is not to say we should be complacent, far less arrogant.

Still, every player will have to be at the absolute top of his game. We will have to take our time with every pass, we will have to measure every decision. The defence will have to step it up. The midfield will have to perform at its best and the forwards will need to be sharp.

Dundee Utd, who it is good to have back in the top flight, will give us a stiff test at the weekend.

That will go some way towards preparing us for the fixture next midweek.

European football is always an unknown though, so we can’t be sure who’s coming to play us – how good they are, how strong they are, what their strengths are – until they come.

That’s where we have to hope that our scouts have the measure of the opposition and can provide the manager with the information he needs. In the end though, our footballers have to be up to the task. That’s what’s going to matter.

I liked what the manager did with the team last night. Playing the Israeli’s at the back worked for me.

Frimpong is a phenomenal talent, but Abd Elhamed is a much stronger defender at right back, and on certain games he should be the automatic choice.

I thought Bitton strolled. He has the physicality to be a centre back, and the skill of a midfielder on the ball.

I think he’s a superb asset to the club and I hope we get him tied down on a new deal soon.

The midfield is the cause of a lot of arguments, and it will be the cause of even more with Rogic being shipped out. His impending departure answers the question about Ntcham; he is going nowhere. Even if Turnbull comes in, the Frenchman is crucial to this team and to Lennon’s plans.

Last summer he looked as if he was off, but then the manager sat down with him and they sorted out whatever was on his mind. That changed everything.

Up front, I really think James Forrest could use some time out of the team, to remind him that he’s not an automatic selection. Which he seems to be. Christie can play wide right. I would give him a go of that, and get Forrest out of the firing line a while.

Elyounoussi, who was my man of the match, is ready. You can tell. Not just for Europe either, but for the whole of the domestic campaign to come. He’s going to be massive for us.

Edouard can look lightweight at times, but he has the best footballing brain of any player at this club since The King of Kings was here.

Pair him up with Ajeti and watch him go.

This will require the three-man central defence and a change of tactics … but Lennon is thinking along those lines.

We have the players to play in various different systems.

It is good to have gotten the first European tie out of the way.

Had we lost we’d have been out of Europe completely.

Instead, we’ll have a shot at the Europa League Groups come what may, although that’s not a competition that really excites the fans much.

It is still a long road to get to their Champions League equivalent.

We will not have it easy.

Last night we played very well and looked very comfortable.

But it gets harder from here.

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