Celtic’s superb victory in Belgium last night has put on Celtic well on target for our stated aim of European football after Christmas. More than that though, the win is a blueprint for what Celtic can achieve in the future.
The aim, as Brendan Rodgers said when the Champions League Group Stages draw was originally made, was European football into the New Year. But another aim that should now be on the agenda is a win away from home in the Group Stages every season. When we made our return to the Group Stages last season we really should have won at Borussia Mönchengladbach last season, but now the shackles have been thrown off and in such dominant fashion Celtic should be trying to make victories like last night the norm. We might not be able to compete with the likes of Bayern and PSG, but we are better than Anderlecht and their ilk.
After the game Brendan Rodgers stated that Celtic want to try and be in Europe after Christmas every season, and a way to make that a reality would be to slightly tweak our transfer strategy, perhaps making two big money - by Celtic’s standards - signings, instead of the one that seems to be made each year - last summer Scott Sinclair, this summer Olivier Ntcham.
We know that the team is likely to start breaking up next season, for example I doubt Dembele will be here - so it would make sense if we doe more business in January, to make sure that the players are bedded into the squad for the ultra important Champions League qualifiers. This is even more important next season, as we will face 4 qualifying rounds instead of 3 to try and make the Group Stages.
Last night could prove to be a watershed moment in more way than one for Celtic: not only did we have our best ever result away from home in the Champions League Group Stages, but we also showed what can be achieved with an exceptional manager and the players who believe in his ideas. Let’s hope that the manager and players can go on to achieve even more in Europe this season.