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Celtic 0-2 Barcelona: No European football after Christmas, but Rodgers' men learn valuable lessons

They came, they saw, they conquered. Again. Barcelona killed off Celtic's latest European campaign in a match where Lionel Messi provided the goals, and his two pals - Suarez and Neymar - did nothing to dispel their pantomime villain image. It feels like we've been here before.

The weather and the atmosphere in Glasgow ticked all the boxes of the cliched Champions League night at Celtic Park, with a particularly special and dazzling display in the 67th minute lifting the decibel level at a time when the home side were already out of the game, and out of Europe.

The mutual love-in between the two sets of supporters also conformed to the norm of recent years. With Barcelona fans soaking up the atmosphere generated, and Celtic fans keen to make their thoughts on Barcelona's star man clear by applauding the Catalan's chant of 'Messi, Messi, Messi'.

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In The Heat Of Lisbon: Celtic supporters lit up the stands on the 67th minute in tribute to the clubs European Cup winning side of 1967

If so much seemed familiar off the pitch, there is something different happening on it. Celtic were well in the game until Lionel Messi struck the opener, and spurned a great chance to equalise before the Argentine converted a second half penalty to kill the game.

There have been lessons learned from this game, and the campaign as a whole that will make Celtic stronger under Brendan Rodgers next season. Celtic have proven they can press and harry more illustrious opponents and play with a pace and energy to cause more talented teams real problems. This match represented a huge improvement from the opening round against Barcelona, and this campaign has represented an improvement on the two that came before it.

If the pressing...
Celtic's Champions League Challenge
The Scottish champions once again face off against the might of Barcelona

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The bright lights of Paradise will beam down upon us tonight, is a Celtic victory in sight?

This season's opening group game, in the Champions League, saw Celtic visit one of the greatest arenas in world football, Camp Nou. Unfortunately, Barcelona were in great form that night and outclassed the Hoops with a 7-0 thrashing. Even when you consider that the Celtic players showed Barcelona too much respect that night, there is a clear gulf in quality between the two sides, with Barcelona being several levels above.

Given the state of affairs Celtic found themselves in just one year ago, where our European performances often featured calamitous defensive errors and a lack of ability to win a Europa League group match, just qualifying for the Champions League group stages is a huge step forward.

Brendan Rodgers inherited a squad of players who, despite being champions, lacked confidence. The departing Ronny Deila admitted that the job was too big for him and it was noticeable in our performances. When Rodgers was appointed, he identified areas of the team that needed strengthening and his acquisitions thus far have dramatically transformed our fortunes. He did what his recent predecessors couldn't, he qualified for the Champions League group stages on his first attempt as Celtic manager.

Huge credit is due to the Irishman for that early achievement and the experience gained this season can be taken forward for future attempts at Champions League qualification. There's no secret that the exposure and financial advantages of being in this competition will enhance Celtic's ability to attract good quality footballers to the club, as...
Blonde Cafu seals all three points for Celtic


Scottish Premiership

Rugby Park

Kilmarnock

Friday 18th November 2016


Brendan Rodgers hailed Stuart Armstrong as the 'Blonde Cafu' after his man of the match performance at right back against Inverness but it was from the middle of the park where he did the damage on Friday night at Rugby Park. With a number of Celtic’s squad away on International duty over the course of the previous week, a few of the regulars were given a well needed rest in order to remain fresh for the meeting with Barcelona next Wednesday night, in a game that Celtic will need to win in order to keep their European dreams alive. Kilmarnock have proven to be a relatively difficult side to beat at Rugby Park this season under manager Lee Clark, and it was apparent in the way that they prohibited Celtic from being at their fluent best, although aided by the artificial surface which the Celtic players seemed to find difficult to adjust to.

Celtic were forced to make changes to their back four, with Boyata coming into the heart of the defence for the first time since April and Callum McGregor covering at left back for Emilio Izaguirre who had only returned from International duty the day before. Understandably, there was an element of sloppiness added to Celtic’s game as a result. Despite this, they were the more dominant team in the opening exchanges, and came close to breaking the deadlock on 13 minutes when Erik Sviatchenko lost Killie defender Scott Boyd and connected with a Sinclair corner, however was unable to steer his header on target. Ten minutes later, they came close again. Roberts found Forrest who had made a run into the penalty area, before reverting on to his left foot and unleashing a curled effort with his left foot that forced a strong save from the Killie goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald. On 27 minutes Kilmarnock were almost gifted a great opportunity to take the lead when Boyata...
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Saturday 5th November

Kickoff: 15:00

Celtic Park

Celtic TV

After a night of mixed emotions in Germany, Celtic must now deal with the transition from the dizzying heights of the Champions League, to their bread and butter of the SPFL.

Inverness will be our opponents on Saturday and the Highlanders have proven themselves something of a bogey team for Celtic in the past - a label they'll be hoping to live up to come the weekend. The last meeting between the two sides ended in a two all draw, but is perhaps best remembered for bringing to an end Celtic's domestic winning streak.

Celtic

Celtic are naturally the favourites going in to this match, with the Parkhead side currently being unbeaten in all domestic competition. However, fans will remember that Inverness were the side who brought our winning streak to an end back in September. Brendan Rodgers certainly hasn't forgotten the result, even admitting that he's still 'rankled' by Celtic's failure to win that match.

As such, he will surely be hoping for a better performance from his players on Saturday.However, what players players should we expect to see come kickoff?

Well, two players who certainly won't be involved the squad come Saturday are Kieran Tierney and Kolo Toure. Tierney will be recovering from the surgery on his ankle injury, and will thus be unavailable. As such, Emilio Izaguirre will likely once again step in to provide cover at left back. Meanwhile, Kolo Toure has yet to full recover from his injury and will play no part in Saturday's game.

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Rogic opened the scoring the last time the club's met, will...
Rogic stunner extends Celtic’s lead at top



Scottish Premiership

Pittodrie Stadium

Aberdeen

Saturday 29th October 2016

Celtic met Aberdeen at noon on Saturday knowing that a victory would extend their lead to ten points over the Dons, having played a game less. In what has proved to be a tricky encounter for Celtic in recent seasons, a moment of magic from Aussie midfielder Tom Rogic proved to be the difference between the two sides. Aberdeen looked a galvanised team after their disappointing midweek loss to Hamilton Accies, their first loss since the last time they met Celtic back in August. Celtic weren’t quite at their fluid best, but will head into Tuesday’s crunch Champions League tie with Borussia Mönchengladbach with three successive wins and clean sheets behind them and a growing sense of optimism that they might be able to propel themselves back into European contention.

The opening exchanges were typically hectic, with both sides in pursuit of the crucial opening goal. Aberdeen’s Niall McGinn had the first clear cut chance of the game on eight minutes when his eight-yard effort was blocked from Celtic’s Danish centre half Erik Sviatchenko after Shay Logan had found space down Celtic’s left hand side and reversed the ball into the path of the Irishman. Aberdeen sought to prevent the free-flowing football Celtic have been showing this season with aggressive and determined pressing. Despite this, Celtic did manage to gain relative control of the game and while Aberdeen prevented them from being at their creative best, they were still the side that looked more likely to score throughout. Celtic’s Tom Rogic was once again instrumental in anything Celtic did in attack and it was he who broke the deadlock after twenty-three minutes with a goal right out of the top drawer. The ball broke to the Aussie about twenty yards from goal after Shay Logan had failed to clear his lines. Rogic still had a lot to do as the ball bounced and...