FORMER Celtic striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink is backing the Hoops to finish third in their Champions League group – despite their seven-goal mauling in Barcelona.

The Dutchman still has faith in his old club to overcome Borussia Moenchengladbach, 4-0 losers against Manchester City last night, to reach the Europa League knock-out stages.

Vennegor of Heselink said: “The Bundesliga is really strong, but Celtic can still get third.

“It’s going to be a big test. Borussia are a really good team and I watched them play earlier this year.

“Celtic need to be a little bit lucky and focused because the two big teams, Barca and Manchester City, are already there.

“I saw the group when the draw was made and it has two things – greatness, because you play such great teams, but in a sporting way you now you’re going to be competing and, hopefully, you’re going to be coming third.

“Then you need to produce, especially in the home games, because anything can happen in home games. Celtic have shown that in the past.” 

The former Holland international frontman played in the Champions League for Celtic during his 2006/09 stay at the club and he believes that the current players just need to accept that on Tuesday night they faced on the of game’s great sides, and put the heavy defeat behind them.

He said: “Sometimes you just put your hands up and say they were the much better team, learn from it and move on.

“I remember playing one game for Celtic away against Shakhtar Donetsk and you wanted to play really good, but you just couldn’t get a grip of any of their players.

“This is Barcelona, one of the best teams in the world. They just play football from another planet sometimes. This is not hard for the players to let go. It happens and it they won’t be bothered about it for too long.”

Brendan Rodgers will get his first taste of Inverness on Sunday when his players take on Caley Thistle and Vennegoor of Hesselink stressed the importance of a swift return to winning ways.

The 37-year-old added: “The next game is when you can show again that you’re capable of winning the league. You can turn things around really quickly.

“Make sure you win the game, not even playing football in a good way, just make sure you win the game, so no-one can hold that against you. They can do that. It will be okay.”

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