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Peter Grant shares how he thinks Celtic can progress in the Champions League

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Celtic’s Champions League exploits over the past few seasons have come under the microscope after failing to progress from the group stages and taking a few hammerings along the way.

The gulf in the calibre of players due to the finances that Celtic have compared to the five big European leagues has made winning the competition impossible.

And that’s despite being cash-rich ourselves from earnings in the comPetition.

However, whilst many Celtic fans are resigned to the fact that winning the big cup is out of reach, plenty still want to see the club compete against the big teams in Europe.

And Peter Grant reckons he knows how Celtic can do it.

A ‘Barcelona’ performance will help Celtic in Europe

We all remember that famous night at Celtic Park when a Tony Watt goal sealed one of the most famous European wins in Celtic’s history, don’t we?

Messi, Ronaldinho, Xavi and Puyol were all sent packing from Parkhead despite their tiki-taka Football ensuring we had less than 15% possession.

But Celtic still got the result that night and that is what Grant reckons Brendan Rodgers’ side will need to do to get out of the group stages next season.

Grant said [Scottish Football Podast], “We’re talking about Spain, especially the big guns. You know, you’re talking about England. And I keep saying it, if the bottom team in England get £120m, the bottom team and we’re getting £2m or £3m. That tells you the difference.

“Celtic, I think, have improved in the last few years in Europe. The performances have improved. They’ve tried to win Games. You know they’ve not been getting beat sixes and sevens. Okay, Atletico Madrid is a bit difficult because of the sending-off.

“People keep saying we’ve got to do better in Europe. Against the teams at our level? Yes, I agree.

“But the teams at the next level, it’s going to be very, very difficult. That gap is just going to get bigger and bigger, no matter how much fun finance we’ve got.

“Because we’re never going to be allowed to have the players. You’ll have to be very lucky. We’ll have to bring a performance like Barcelona where you have no possession of the ball, but you still find a way to win the game.

“And that’s the only way you’re going to beat these teams, on one of these nights. And that can happen in a one-off game. I’m sure that can happen.”

Whilst I agree, in part, with what Grant is saying here, having that approach to European football simply won’t work for Celtic.

Barcelona player Lionel Messi (r) shakes hands with Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster before the UEFA Champions League Group G match between Celtic ...
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

The fans wouldn’t want to see the team sit back and take the pressure that games against Barcelona would bring.

We have seen first-hand what our defending is like when Europe’s top guns come calling as, more often than not, the backline tends to make a mistake which inevitably ends up with the ball in the back of the net.

There needs to be a balance between attacking and defending and, hopefully, if Brendan Rodgers gets the right personnel in this summer, Celtic will be better equipped to take on Europe’s best next season.

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