Celtic’s loss on Tuesday night has harmed our chances in this Group. I said before the game that I thought it was the worst fixture to start with, because playing away meant it was going to be difficult for us to win, but that playing the team most people regarded as the “weakest” of our three opponents made a firestorm certain if we didn’t win.
The idea of Feyenoord as the weakest team in the group is pretty absurd. We don’t know that. What we do know is that they are the current Champions in Holland, and they are scoring goals for fun in their domestic league. They are a damned fine side, led by an outstanding manager, and for a long time the other night we dominated them.
We played well. That does not make them a bad side. I said before the game that I was worried about the match because of their quality. But we held our own. And that does give me a bit more confidence that we can achieve something in this group.
But we must now win six points at home. Nothing less will do. I am not saying I expect it or demand it. I am saying that we need it. There is a nearly universal presumption that Feyenoord will drop points against the two other sides; I am far from convinced of that, but even if it’s true and they do wind up with defeats home and away against the other two sides we need to beat them by three to be sure we qualify in front of them with three points.
Three points are not going to get us there. Not a chance. We are going to need a minimum of six, and that means Feyenoord at home and one of the other sides … we cannot settle for less. Because I firmly believe that anything less than six points and we’re out.
Do I think we can get them? Hell yes, I do. Because if we play with discipline with the home crowd behind us, at Celtic Park on one of those special, Champions League nights, we are capable of it. Rodgers is capable of it. We do have good players.
We should not fear anyone at home.
Still, I am under no illusions about the size of this task. The Lazio of right now is not the one we beat in the Europa League some years ago and Atletico Madrid are the kind of side you would be in the least surprised to see in the latter stages of the tournament.
It will take two momentous performances, even accounting for the home advantage. But I am pleased with what I saw the other night in spite of the defeat. We have a chance. We’ll need to grab it with both hands though.