Celtic have secured European football after Christmas despite a 1-0 loss at home to Anderlecht in the last round of group stage games in this season’s Champions League.
A second-half own goal by Jozo Simunovic meant the Belgian side ended Group B level on points with the Hoops, though because they failed to net four against Rodgers’ side, they finished bottom of the group.
Manager Brendan Rodgers reflected on the disappointing result, stating that the best team won on the night.
As quoted by BBC Sport, the Irishman said:
The best team won, they were better than us. Our aim at the beginning of this competition was to get through to the Europa League stage, so there’s immense pride at doing that. It’s hard to feel that after you’ve lost, but we got the job done over the course of the game. We have a lot of work to do before we can affect that level, but we’re through and we can look forward to that in February.
The context of the game probably affected our performance, especially in the first half. Them having to chase the game, they played much quicker and we were poor in our ball possession. I was thankful to get in 0-0 at half time and second half we were better. I don’t think we were spooked, we just weren’t very good. They were brighter technically, their movement was sharper. Some of our players have a long way to go before they can call themselves players at this level. We need to be better, but we’ve shown that we can be.
The Scottish champions’ only game in which they earned points from was the 3-0 win over Anderlecht in Belgium back in Seoptember.
The question remains whether or not investment will be made during the January transfer window in a bid to strengthen before the Europa knockout round in February.
A place in the last-32 of the competition has been reserved for Rodgers’ side, with the draw for the competition’s knockout round taking place on Monday 11th December. Celtic will be unseeded.