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Let me preface this article by saying I am just as desperate as everyone of our supporters to see Celtic make it past Hapoel Beer Sheva to make it back into the Champions League Group Stages.

But I don’t see this yet as a defining game in Brendan Rodger’s reign. It’s easy to forget that he has only been our manager for the best part of two months, and I am of the view that he has already succeeded by earning European football until Christmas for the Hoops. If he takes what is essentially still the nucleus of the squad left behind by Ronny Deila (albeit with good additions) into Europe’s Elite, then he has worked a miracle.

I would love to see the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich come back to Parkhead, but I am genuinely just as enthused by the prospect of a run in the Europa League. The games might not be as glamorous, but I would make the argument that Rodgers and his team might be better off winning games in the Europa League than the likelihood of being well beaten by the powerhouses in the Champions League – look at what Manchester City did to Steaua Bucharest last night. In my view a solid run with our young players in the Europa League could be better for us in the long run than being simply outclassed by Aguero, Messi, Ronaldo and co.

I know that to some this does sound odd; and that many amongst our support look down on the Europa League – but I remember the magical run to Seville more fondly than I remember many Champions League nights. I remember Guidetti’s equaliser against Inter Milan with much more joy than being beaten 6-1 by Barca. We are a club that thrives on winning games. Ideally, we want to be winning games in the Champions League, of course, but are we ready for that yet? We’ll see.

Of course I want Champions League football. Of course I want to see Celtic destroy Hapoel tonight. But I would urge supporters not to despair should we fail to do so, and tackle the Europa League with positivity. If we don’t make it through this tie, fine. Instead, we pack out Paradise in the Europa League. We need to realise that we are actually in a win-win situation, and we need to be faithful, through and through.

Patrick Wallace

10 COMMENTS

  1. I understand where you are coming from, but the financial gain from the Champions league is what we need to help Brendan attract and afford a better quality of player. Without it we will never be competitive in Europe HH

  2. I SEE AND AGREE WITH THE OBSREVATION YOU MAKE PATRICK…I JUST HOPE AND PRAY THERE ARE NO HYSTERICS FROM SOME OF OUR SUPPORTERS…WAIT TILL YOU SEE OUR TEAM TWO YEARS FROM NOW NOT TWO MONTHS…LETS NOT SCUNNER BRENDAN WHEN HE IS ONLY TEN MINUTES IN THE DOOR…I HONESTLY THINK THAT THE GOOD TIMES ARE NOT FAR AWAY…

  3. The key is not to get on the players backs. Support them wholeheartedly throughout the entire game. This is what being a supporter means.

  4. Patrick whilst I agree we have a young team and its early days for the Manager and his backroom team, I honestly feel that should we get through one or maybe two exciting signings will be made to complement the squad we have at present. I firmly believe that we have the best manager and a better squad than we have had for many years HH Keep the faith

  5. totally agree why run before you can walk as the europa league would be better for us at this time while brendan is building a side that hopefully in time with a few more quality signings will be able to compete better in the champions league

  6. While I understand your very valid take on this I have to admit I feel that in order to move forward in the champions league we must qualify for the group stages on a regular basis and collect the bountiful payday it rewards…we can only move forward if we have that regular huge income that CL money provides, if that means getting a pounding from Europe’s elite for a couple of seasons then so be it, we won’t be able to attract the proper calibre of player for champions league football whilst we are competing in the cup most top players look down on as an unwelcome consolation…Europa league would certainly give us more of a chance to compete and reach later stages but in long run would do us no good going forward (and it pains me to say it)

  7. Well said, I agree mostly with the points. But now, after the first leg final whistle, considering the belief that earned us the 5-2 victory, the CL proper beckons.
    Better to be in the fast, expensive car than the slow, cheaper one- even though we are more likely to be thrown out of the fast car! CL here we come, hail hail!!

  8. Did u see attendances last season in europa league lets get into group stages and aim for 3rd place n into knockout stages of europa n win win situation as bank champ league cash n get run in europa as i believe sadly thats our level

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