Tooling up for Europe

Celtic avoided a group of death in yesterday’s Champions League draw. Thankfully they also avoided Barcelona.

Each of their opponents come with their own challenge. In the past Celtic have faced each of these teams home and away once in European competition.

From Pot 1 came Bayern Munich. Now let’s not beat about the bush, they are a formidable team with a well respected manager.

Celtic lost in Munich 2-1 in 2003 followed by a 0-0 draw at Celtic Park, both matches being played in the group stage of the Champions League. Bayern were a good team back then, but they are far superior now.

The five-in-a-row Bundesliga Champions made the quarter finals of the Champions League last season. It was only after extra time that they lost out to eventual Champions, Real Madrid.

I’m pleased to be playing them after such a long time. It will be a tough test for Celtic, but that’s why we’re in this competition.

Out of Pot 2 came Paris Saint Germain. The last time Celtic faced them was in the Cup Winners Cup in 1995.

Back then both games were won by PSG. They slaughtered Celtic 0-3 at Celtic Park and 1-0 at Parc Des Princes.

That was a team that included some pretty amazing players. The current PSG side is pretty glamorous to say the least with Neymar top of that list.

Last season PSG made the last sixteen of the Champions League. They hammered Barcelona 4-0 in Paris but lost the away leg 6-1 and the tie 5-6.

In Pot 3 Celtic drew Anderlecht. They are Celtic’s best chance at getting points.

Celtic last played the Belgians in 2003 in the same group with Bayern Munich. Celtic were beaten by ten man Anderlecht 1-0 but the home tie was won convincingly 3-1 by the Hoops allowing them to finish third and parachute into the UEFA Cup where they reached the quarter finals.

Anderlecht cannot be underestimated though because they are in this competition on merit. They made the quarter finals of the Europa League last season, losing out to eventual winners Manchester United.

So Celtic have their work cut out for themselves. If ever there was a reason to invest in a couple of more players then this is it.

Injuries have left Brendan Rodgers selections threadbare this season. Against these clubs Celtic will get annihilated playing without a proper striker or central defensive pairing.

It will be tough to recruit quality and experience for the right price. There is also a necessity to find it before next week’s deadline.

Rivaldo Coetzee is supposed to have signed already, but that has not been confirmed by Celtic. At 20 years of age he may not be seen as the immediate answer.

He has played for South Africa more than twenty times. So there is some international experience in there for him.

So far the Patrick Roberts story goes on. If this was going to be a loan deal I would imagine it would have been sealed by now.

Therefore it is more likely that Celtic are trying to bring him in on a permanent deal with umpteen clauses just to satisfy Manchester City. That’s where the delay is most likely to be.

Brendan still needs another striker and defender. Even on loan deals if need be.

We have an exciting tournament starting next month. Let’s tool up for it.

Hail! Hail!

Stevie Mac

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