As Ajax contemplate the impossible (winning the Champions League the season after being knocked out of the Europa qualifiers by Rosenborg), it’s appropriate to note the stark European facts of Brendan Rodgers’ tenure.
Excluding qualifiers, Brendan’s Celtic played 6 home games in the Champions League and 5 in the Europa, he won three, all in the Europa, drew 1 and lost 7.
Gordon Strachan also played 11 home games excluding qualifiers, all in the Champions League, 2 in the knock out rounds. Gordon won 7 of those games, drew 3 and lost only 1, a 2-3 defeat to Barcelona. Among others, the wins came against reigning champions, Milan, as well as Manchester United, Villarreal and Benfica (twice).
While Gordon Strachan’s Celtic never came close to what Ajax have achieved this season, they were eye-wateringly good compared to our recent seasons in Europe. And for what it’s worth, I don’t think Periier Doumbe, McManus, Naylor, Hartley, Donati or Jarosik, players Gordon started in that win against Milan, would get near this Celtic team.
It is possible to do much better in Europe with our existing resources. We will always love what was achieved under Brendan, but his stubbornness in Europe is irrefutable.
And a big thanks to Kevin (brother) for throwing this comparison at me after the Valencia defeats.