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Celtic Fans Should Embrace Our Champions League Campaign White Knuckle Ride.

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Before the draw is even made, you would get long odds on Celtic even qualifying for the knockout stages from our Champions League group. The bookies will have as candidates for a spot at the bottom of whichever section we’re in.

This is a realistic assessment of where we are, and where we can expect to be.

The greatest danger to us, as a club, is in over-estimating our ability to finish anywhere else.

Even third place looks like a battle for which we are ridiculously outgunned.

One of the most lamentable features of Ibrox’s freak run to a final last season was the suggestion that it has raised the bar and that we must meet that. Seven wins in twenty-one games was their record.

We played fourteen games and won six, all of those wins in the same competition they were in.

We had a vastly tougher group than they did.

Neither their group nor ours was even remotely like the one we’re likely to end up in next.

The term Group of Death could be coined specially for us. There are no Super Clubs in the Europa League. The Champions League is their playground, and we’re the scrawny little kid who just walked into their bully’s version of Stalag Luft III and it is not wholly unreasonable to expect that we’re about to get our asses well and truly kicked.

Now here’s the thing. There are two ways you can handle a fight where you look absolutely over-matched. You can roll into a protective ball and hope that nothing breaks – which is a natural, and human instinct – or you can reason that doing so guarantees you a kicking and all the humiliation that goes with it, and so come out swinging.

Ange’s style is built on that aggressive approach, and if we’re going to get anything at all it’s going to be by leaning into that philosophy.

If he starts second guessing the strategy and changing it up, all we’re going to do is upset the balance of this team and the absolute doings are a certainty. If we play with eleven men behind the ball and try to defend we’re going to get routed and we will deserve everything that we get and more.

This squad is not built for that approach. It is built as an offensive, rather than as a defensive, unit.

We are going to go for it. We are going to go toe-to-toe with these hulking brutes and we’re going to swap punches with them, and all of Europe is going to watch it in disbelief and perhaps even awe. I do not expect us to shock the world but we will excite the footballing public and we will make our team talked about and respected whether we get results or not.

And you know, there are two ways we can look at that.

With a glass half full approach or a glass half empty one. Results will go some of the way to deciding that, but even then we need to take the rough with the smooth, and the roughs could be very rough indeed, but rather than be horrified by the experience we should try to feel exhilarated.

I am a realist. But even we are allowed to dream.

My head will be in the clouds, but I am going to try to remember where my feet are; firmly on the ground.

I just want Ange and these players to make us proud, to take our shot, to put on a show.

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7 comments

  • Seppington says:

    Cattenacio is not the Celtic way.
    I’d rather we went out getting beat 5-2 after trying to win 3 points than get beat 1-0 clinging on for 90 mins hoping to win a point. Can’t criticise our lesser SPFL opponents for 11-men-behind-the-ball negativity if we just do the same thing when facing “bigger” sides. The one major positive for me from last season’s Euro endeavours was the willingness to attack and I look forward to seeing how it pans out this year with a properly-formed team on the pitch!

  • REBELLIOUS says:

    I think your approach is very close to my outlook too, I can see us battering teams in the first half of games, however, I think most of us noticed a drop off in the second half of quite a lot of last season’s matches . Ange has already stated that he’s aware of this and he must have a plan to change that in the upcoming season, failure to correct that could bring some really bad results against the ‘super clubs’ ( they’re only super coz of their CA$H )
    so, it has to be addressed.

    Regardless of results in the CL, I’m just so looking forward to the improved level in competition and seeing what results Ange’s philosophy will bring; Celtic are 250/1 to win it @b365 I didn’t even contemplate it.

  • Johnny Green says:

    Getting beaten 3-2 is maybe just about palatable, depending on if it is a home or away match. However, although I want us to be offensive, and we will definitely do that, I don’t want us to go totally gung ho and forget that we need to keep the back door closed into the bargain. There is a happy medium and let’s hope we can find it.

  • Frank Connelly says:

    Scary James. looks a bit like good old Brendan’s approach. Still like us to be expansive but with an element of caution ie protection of the back 4

  • Cheezydee says:

    I don’t know why you’ve raised 10 behind the ball etc., Ange has repeatedly said he’s got a style of play that he thinks is effective regardless of who we play, so it’s not even a talking point.

    We’re in the groups, the group is gonna be what it is. Barring trying to finish at least 3rd, we’ve really nothing to lose except coefficient points and money for points/goals. We’ve effectively already won in getting the CL money so everything else is a bonus with I guess the target of trying to progress.

    You repeatedly mention sevco and their games won to get to the final. They got to the final, however they got there. That’s all that really matters, and we didn’t get out the groups.

  • FSTB says:

    Progress for me would be seeing our bhoys not treating the ball like a hot potato at european level .
    They are all good footballers so making accurate passes and not being afraid to receive the ball with an opponent close by will do me .
    Be brave on the ball and show for it off the ball
    HH

    • Cheezydee says:

      Choking of bottling is what seems to happen with us, where we play within ourselves, especially if we concede.

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