SCOTT BROWN has spoken of the pain he and the squad endured last season when they were knocked out of the Champions League before it had even begun. Celtic failed to overcome a stubborn and average Athen’s side who would go onto the group stage and win zero points from their group.

This time around Celtic must focus and have a bit of luck on their side as the Celtic captain admits injury played its part in proceedings a year ago.

“What happened in Athens last year was hard to take for everyone,” Brown told CelticTV.

“We thought we were the better team over two legs but we just couldn’t get the ball in the back of the net.

“We played some great 
football and were just unlucky with a few injuries as well, a couple of the lads couldn’t quite make the game.

“It is always on the back of your mind. We just couldn’t get it over the line.

“That’s the things that drive us on to try to get into the Champions League. It’s huge for me. You want to play against the best players and best clubs in the world.

“That’s why I signed for 
Celtic, to play in these kinds of competitions. It’s huge in terms of money, sponsorship and putting ourselves out there for people to see what a top-quality team and club we are, but we need to make sure we are there in the first place.

“A lot of the players come to Celtic because they see 
Champions League nights like when we were playing Man City and PSG, and we want that atmosphere again at 
Celtic Park. We want to be in the Champions League and we think this club deserves to be in the Champions League, so we need to make sure we make the club proud.”

It’s always getting harder to qualify for Celtic but as Scott Brown says, we must be among this elite group of clubs and continue to punch above our weight when we can.

Some of the best nights Celtic fans will have ever experienced is when Europe’s big bhoys come to town and if you grew up in the 00s, you would have seen a fair amount of those clubs sent packing from Celtic Park.

It’s even very different from 15 years ago but the club knows where they need to be.

The journey starts against Sarajevo in Bosnia with the bhoys needing to be on their toes to make sure an upset doesn’t happen. This will be Celtic’s first competitive game since winning the treble treble and there’s unlikely to be new faces in the starting XI at this point.



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