TOM BOYD insists Celtic played better in their 3-0 loss to Real Madrid than when they memorably overcame Barcelona 2-1 in 2012.

Just like Carlo Ancelotti’s All-Stars a week ago, Lionel Messi and Co were European champions when they faced Neil Lennon’s side.

Goals from Victor Wanyama and Tony Watt had the Hoops ahead before Messi grabbed a stoppage-time consolation for the Nou Camp gaints.

The momentous result went straight into the history books, but former skipper Boyd is convinced Ange Postecoglou’s line-up turned in more of an overall performance against Real although, of course, that was not reflected in the final scoreline.

HISTORY BHOY…Tony Watt races away in triumph after scoring the winner against Barcelona in November 2012.

The Hoops now face two testing away games in Champions League Group F with Shakhtar Donetsk next up in Warsaw tomorrow night and RB Leipzig, trounced 4-1 by the Ukrainians in Germany last week, ready to take on the Scottish champions on October 5.

Boyd hopes his old team will not alter their progressive outlook in the Polish capital.

The former Scotland international defender, now 56, said: “We played better in an attacking sense against the European champions than we did when we beat Barcelona all those years ago.

“It is about taking your opportunities when they come along and you have to be clinical in that aspect, which Celtic have been for most of this campaign. It was a no-lose situation against Real Madrid. They put in a good performance and kept the feelgood factor going.

“The impact Ange has had and the addition of good players coming in is hopefully a recipe for success and that has been the case so far. It has been great to watch.

“If this is it at its peak then, I tell you what, I think every Celtic supporter will be happy.”

ON THE RUN…Tom Boyd challenges Rangers midfielder Rino Gattuso in race for the ball.

Focusing on the upcoming European challenges, Boyd, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “Judging on the Madrid performance, I wouldn’t imagine Shakhtar and Leipzig would be able to come and defend with the way Celtic like to attack.

“I don’t imagine Ange Postecoglou will change his philosophy in terms of the way he wants to play. I wouldn’t imagine those clubs will be as good defensively as Real Madrid. We will wait and see how that develops.

“We now have two away games and that is a hard start to the campaign. We have played the European champions first and then we have two away games. It is a very difficult start.

”Had we scored against Real Madrid it might have given us something, a wee cushion, and we might have gone on to get another outstanding victory. But it didn’t happen.

“But going to these sort of places it is worth having a go and testing these other teams. I would rather see the team have a go than sitting in and defending and getting beat. That has been the case for us some times.”

BY THE RIGHT…Tom Boyd in World Cup action for Scotland as he swings in a low cross during the 2-1 loss to Brazil in the opening match in the France 1998 tournament.

Boyd added: “Europe is a bonus, isn’t it? The rewards of what you’ve done in the league campaign. But the league is still the priority, you can’t get away from that.

“What we want to do is get back to getting performances and getting the crowd behind us. We have lost our way a wee bit in terms of some of the results we had here when it was a fortress many, many years ago. I am sure that is what we want to try and get back to.

“We have got a couple of difficult away games coming up. We will see what it is like when Donetsk and Leipzig come back here again. We will hope for the same intensity from the fans and the players.

“I know we lost to Real Madrid, but that was to the European champions and it certainly seems like a great time to be a Celtic supporter.”

* Tom Boyd was speaking at the launch of Mastermind, the autobiography of Wim Jansen who passed away in January at the age of 75. The Dutchman won the league title in his only season as Celtic manager in 1997-98.

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