28th August 2022; Tannadice Park, Dundee, Scotland: Scottish Premier League football, Dundee United versus Celtic: Celtic Manager Angelos Postecoglou applauds the fans after the 9-0 victory

Celtic had their first crack in European competition under Ange Postecoglou with the club being drawn in a group to face Bayer Leverkusen, Real Betis and Ferencvaros.

It could be said that Celtic overachieved in even getting to the group stages of the Europa League season with the team still missing players in crucial positions.

The Hoops ended up finishing third in the group and dropped into the new Europa Conference League where they were drawn against Norwegian champions Bodø/Glimt.

Defeats in both matches saw Celtic crash out the competition and the European journey was over for yet another year.

Having won the SPFL Premiership last season, the Scottish champions are straight into the group stages of the prestigious Champions League where they will take on reigning champions of Europe Real Madrid as well as RB Leipzig and Shakhtar Donetsk.

This will be a completely different challenge for Postecoglou’s side but the team look far more equipped for European competition this season.

Last seasons participation in the Europa League should serve Celtic well with Ange Postecoglou reflecting on the campaign with Australian outlet Stan Sports Football.

“Last year being in Europe, we went out there to test ourselves; we went out there to measure ourselves,” said Ange Postecoglou speaking to @StanSportsFC. 

“Whilst we didn’t have success in the kind of way people measure success, I still felt there was progress for us in terms of going out there and knowing what our capabilities are, what potential weaknesses we have.

“We got spanked by Leverkusen 4 at home 4-0. But, we ended up winning three group games in the Europa League, and for me, everything I do in terms of the way I want us to play our football is about trying to win things. Win games, win trophies, be successful.

“And, whilst that’s a bit of a longer road to take, I think sometimes in terms of getting your ultimate reward, I still felt it was progress for us last year.

“We fell out of it. We had a couple of disappointing games against Bodø/Glimt in the second half of the year. But, at the same time, I made no bones that I was concentrating on winning the league at the time because I just felt that’s where our biggest sort of reward laid.

“But, we learned a lot, the players learned a lot. Most importantly, we learned a lot because the players were prepared to measure ourselves by playing our football rather than adjusting our approach.”

It’s interesting that the once the home match had taken place against Bodø that attention fully turned back to league business.

The reward did pay-off for the Hoops with just over a week to go until their first Champions League group stage match against Real Madrid.

This Celtic team deserve the chance to test themselves against Europe’s elite clubs which should be a thrill to watch.

 

 

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