Celtic kick off their latest European campaign next week when they travel to Rotterdam to take on Feyenoord. The Dutch champions will provide a stern test for the Bhoys in what is their maiden game on the continent since last November.
The Hoops must negotiate a home match with Dundee before facing Arne Slot’s side, but that has not stopped many from putting their focus on it. Indeed manager Brendan Rodgers touched on his side’s European campaign recently.
The Irish gaffer revealed that he and his players are looking forward to the test the Champions League has to offer. He said (Celtic TV): “The team worked very hard last season to qualify, and now we’re at the elite level of European football. It’s going to be a real examination for us, but it’s also exciting. We’re facing top-class players and managers, and we want to measure ourselves against the best.”
Last season in Europe’s premier club competition, the Celts didn’t give the greatest account of themselves. Missed chances were a theme of the Hoops’ campaign, but this time around under Rodgers, they will be looking to change things.
At least in terms of ambitions, the Hoops are aiming high. Rodgers spoke about what his targets are for his team in the Champions League this season, stating: “We aim to be really competitive and get some positive results in the competition. Our overall aim is to be in Europe after Christmas.”
It will be a tough ask for Celtic to get to play European knockout football in 2023/24 but it is most certainly doable. They will need the backing of the support, particularly in home games.
The atmosphere on European nights at Parkhead is renowned across the world, and Rodgers can’t wait for his men to feel what it is like. He said: “They won’t experience anything like it, that’s for sure. For those who were involved last year, they’ll want to do even better this year. The atmosphere during home games at Celtic Park is incredible.”
Rodgers is absolutely correct with his ‘incredible’ claim. Indeed the atmosphere at Parkhead has scared off a few big teams in the past, and the Hoops will be hoping it can come to their aid this time around.