After a dismal international break, it was good to good to see Celtic back at the weekend. They warmed up for Wednesday night with a very comfortable 2-0 win over Motherwell at Celtic Park.
There could have been a glut of goals in that match with both the Motherwell goalkeeper and metal work doing their job of keeping the ball out. With many players playing/training with their respective countries and others in the international wilderness, I think this was ideal preparation.
Wednesday night will be a full on event so. Borussia Mönchengladbach are the visitors and Celtic Park will be rocking.
You can expect a non-stop 90+ minutes with the fans in full voice. For that reason alone, Celtic will need to be at their fittest and best.
Home advantage is a huge bonus, but this fixture will require everything to get that all important result. Brendan Rodgers is looking for his first Champions League victory in Group C.
A win would see Celtic remain in 3rd place in the group phase at this current stage. It would also put the Hoops in a position of strength at the half way point.
Points do not come easy in the Champions League. I think all Celtic supporters would agree that finishing in third is the best we can hope for given the strength of the opposition.
To do that, Celtic must ensure they are better than Mönchengladbach over the next two games. A win at Celtic Park and a draw at Borussia-Park would go a long way to helping Celtic so long as Mönchengladbach don’t find more than a couple of points in their remaining two matches.
At this stage though, it is in Celtic’s hands. Brendan Rodgers has got this Celtic team playing at a very good standard and there is more to come.
He was disappointed at drawing with Manchester City on matchday two of Group C. I can understand that disappointment given his determination to take Celtic places and coming so close.
As a fan though, watching this Celtic fade for several seasons, I was pretty pleased at being able to hold such a wealthy team to a high scoring draw. Not only that, they have one of the finest managers in the game today.
Tomorrow night, Brendan will have the opportunity to take that first three points. On paper it is Celtic’s best opportunity but there should be no complacency either.
We’ve witnessed some fantastic football under Brendan Rodgers. New players finding some of the best form of their careers so far and established players rediscovering their abilities under the new manager.
Celtic CAN beat Mönchengladbach tomorrow night. Equally, the Bundesliga side WILL be determined to get their first points in Group C.
On the domestic front, Celtic and Mönchengladbach are experiencing different fortunes at this point in the season. You can argue that the Bundesliga is a far superior league to the Scottish Premiership therefore the achievements are of a higher standard.
To be honest, that is generally the case when it comes to European football for Celtic. The Scottish game is an embarrassment at best and yet Celtic can still cut it with most teams out there.
At this stage in the season, this is how both teams compare in their respective leagues:
We can debate about the gulf between the Bundesliga and Scottish Premiership, but this is not news to Celtic. The Hoops may be able to outspend any other club in Scotland but they mus also live within their means.
That includes putting an affordable team out on the park that can compete in Europe without spending the money of the elite clubs across Europe. It’s a tough balance and at times Celtic have reeled things in financially or made bad moves which have in turn made the club suffer on the continent.
Now though, there is enough evidence to show that Celtic are making progress once more. It’s been missing for a long time.
On Wednesday night there is a golden opportunity to put on a display and demonstrate our credentials in this group. As a player or a manager you don’t need much more motivation than that.