Former Bhoys boss Martin O’Neill has offered some punditry to suggest that getting Celtic out of the Europa League group stages would be a major achievement for the Hoops.
The tactician laid down the gauntlet before new boss Ange Postecoglou ahead of tonight’s European clash with Seville-based side Real Betis in Spain.
Celtic have been handed a tough group that boasts top teams from both La Liga and the Bundesliga.
Top seeds Bayer Leverkusen welcome Ferencvaros this evening in the other Group G match while Real Betis have the pleasure of hosting Celtic.
O’Neill spoke on the benefits of a European group exit and challenged Ange Postecoglou to go the extra mile.
“That would do oodles for him. Listen, you never want to think miles and miles ahead as a manager. But attaining European football after Christmas would be a big thing,” Martin O’Neill told Scottish Sun on what an escape would mean for Postecoglou.
“You want to be involved in these competitions in February and March when it all kicks off again. So that, to me, should be the ambition.
“You can’t say Celtic should be contesting a final but the only way to be remotely close to that is by qualifying. I think the group stage is interesting. And I think that would be my message, get something to look forward to into the new year. Keep the Celtic fans in that European scene until then.
“In all honesty, they’ve probably been starved of that a little bit lately.”
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Getting out of the group will be a tough ask given the quality of the opposition in the group.
Celtic fans will know all-too well that Postecoglou plays an ambitious and attacking brand of football, however, and an upset could be on the cards both tonight and/or against Leverkusen.
Making the knockout stages could be monumental, and Celtic have the chance to lay down a signal of intent tonight.