European football returns to Celtic Park tonight and there are two ways of looking at that.
The first way is that this game and the other Europa League ties are bonus games in a tournament that we won’t win therefore the manager, fans and players should see it as such and chill out a bit. It’s a great distraction from the SPL, which gives the players and the coaching team a chance to test themselves against a higher level of opposition than they would normally face in the SPL.
So if we take these games at face value then would it not be a good idea to give the supporters a good game of positive football, stick to our lopsided 4-4-2 and just try to enjoy playing a game of football against some quality teams? If we win we win if we lose well it’s not the end of the world. Our main target has been and always should be to win the title so going out of the Europa League after playing six entertaining matches isn’t going to dampen the desire to win the SPL.
The other way to look at it is to approach this game fully committed. Not just the team and the manager but us fans as well. If this is the level that this club wants to play at then we need to put in every available piece of effort and commitment that we can. The truth is that this Celtic team need to learn to live with the expectations that we as a support have.
Our expectation should be to play in the Champions League every season. We are a long way off that just now therefore to improve we need to start beating the type of opposition we have in front of us in the Europa League. I must add that I do not think the board’s investment policy helps our cause.
At the very least, our club should have a Europa League standard team. There is an old cliché in football “One game at a time”. To grow into a top side we cannot afford to have one eye on SPL games when we are playing in European or any other cup competition. The brief is simple win your next game and take it from there.
We have had a very poor start to the season by this teams own standards set last year. The manager and the players need to take this opportunity against a top quality Italian side to prove to us and themselves that they deserve the jersey and the adulation of the best fans in the world.
No more room for hard luck stories it is time to rise to the expectations that come with playing, managing, running and supporting Celtic Football Club.