Now that we know Celtic’s European fate, what do we need to do in order to stand a chance of finishing second in that Group? The answer is simple; win four points from the first three games. At home to Madrid, away at Shakhtar and away in Leipzig.
Because following that, we have the Germans and the Ukrainians at home and six points from those matches would probably be enough to do it. So the way is clear, even if the task isn’t straightforward. Getting something against Madrid either home or away is going to be Mission: Extremely Difficult. Which means we need to win on the road.
Ignore all the hysteria about our Champions League away record, all of it achieved under other managers and other regimes. None of it counts for a damned thing. This is a new team with fresh ideas and we’re going into these games with confidence.
It is the draw we wanted. The glamour game against the holders and two other teams which we won’t underestimate but which are certainly beatable. It is the perfect scenario for us, and in particular that start, those first three games, which set the rest of it up for us. Everyone will be buzzing for it. The whole club will be ready.
It is the stage every player wants to be on, and all the more if you get results. Celtic Park is a special place on European nights anyway; it is a more special place than ever for Champions League nights. I cannot wait for the matches, especially that first one.
But this is where we want to be, and for once we have a draw which challenges us but allows us an opportunity to showcase the new playing style and what the manager wants to do. It will b the real test of how far he and these players have come.
And it’s going to be incredible.
Even more so if we can pull this off and actually qualify … four points from the first three games gives us one Hell of an opportunity to do so.