Celtic have not been good in Europe for a long time. Of course, there have been some promising wins here and there to celebrate. This season it was the one against Real Betis, who would ultimately go on to win the Copa del Rey. A few years before that, there were the ones against Lazio. But overall, there have not been many memorable European campaigns from the Hoops and it has been a long time since they won a knockout phase tie.
Of course, several reasons have been brought up to justify the club’s struggles in Europe. The gap that is there between the finances of Scottish clubs and those from the top five European leagues being the biggest one of them.
Yet, the Rangers have showed this season that Scottish clubs can more than hold up their own in European competitions even in this day and age, beating the likes of Borussia Dortmund, SC Braga and RB Leipzig on their way to the Europa League final.
This is an impressive achievement, and Celtic must use it as fuel in upcoming European seasons to help with their own progress.
The time for excuses is over, Celtic must step up in Europe
For too long, European tournaments have been pushed aside as an afterthought with most of Celtic’s focus going to the domestic competitions. And this has brought a lot of silverware to the club. But when it comes to Europe, it has become about getting one or two good results and celebrating them.
That cannot happen moving forward. Unless a late season collapse happens, Celtic are set to make the Champions League group stage by winning the Premiership. And if that does indeed happen, they must do better.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side have shown how to get big results in Europe this season. Somehow hang on in the away games and then use the home advantage to win ties. Celtic must find a way to replicate that and make Parkhead a fortress.
Ange Postecoglou has already spoken about his European ambitions. Now, it is up to the club to back him.