ANGE POSTECOGLOU has made Europe sit up and take notice of what is happening at Parkhead.
The Greek-Australian boss only arrived on these shores in June last year as he accepted the challenge of trying to turn things around at a struggling club that had failed lamentably the previous season.
Neil Lennon paid for the spectacular fall from grace with the job he loved. The team limped in an enormous TWENTY-FIVE points off the pace as they flopped miserably in their lacklustre effort to win a historic tenth succesive title.
MYSTIFYING…Ange Postecoglou is surprised at only winning one point in Warsaw.
There was anguish in both domestic Cups as the side completed a truly awful crusade without silverware for the first time in 11 years. Europe was a disaster area with AC Milan and Sparta Prague turning over Lennon’s misfits home and away with a total of 15 goals conceded in four forgettable and embarrassing occasions.
Contrast with what we viewed in Warsaw in midweek when Celtic dominated for something like 80 of the 90 minutes against a team that had run amok just the week earlier and fired in four goals in a demolition job over a Bundesliga outfit in Germany.
Looking at the disappointment from his old club at merely getting a point on their travels, Chris Sutton said: “For me, that just shows how far they have come. It’s incredible the improvement in Europe from last season.
“If Celtic had secured a draw after being backs to the wall for 90 minutes then we would have hailed it as a battling result. Instead, there is a huge feeling this was a missed opportunity to collect maximum points.
GRINNING WAYS…Reo Hatate celebrates Celtic’s goal against Shakhtar Donetsk.
“Listen, it might bite them on the backside later in the group when everything is tallied up. But in the meantime, it doesn’t take away from the fact this was a very impressive performance against a more than decent side. In fact, I can’t think of many better away displays in the Champions League – going all the way back to my playing days.
“A lot is made out of Celtic’s form on their travels, we all know they have only won twice at this level. But they haven’t achieved many draws either – and they certainly haven’t drawn games like they did the other night.”
Sutton, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “The opening half-an-hour onslaught was what we have come to expect from this Celtic team.
“But it was the display after the break that impressed me most. Postecoglou will have had a word with them at the interval to get back to doing what they do best, controlling the game, pressing hard and attacking with pace.
FLATTENED…Giorgos Giakoumakis reflects on a late miss against the Ukrainians.
“The changes kept up the momentum after some started to flag and by the end it was Shakhtar who were hanging on and celebrating a point.
“Celtic completely imposed themselves on them. Scottish teams simply don’t play that way in Europe.
“It’s not gone unnoticed, either, right across the continent. Taking the game to Real Madrid? Bossing Shakhtar Donetsk?
“Postecoglou is ripping up the perception of the Scottish game all over Europe. He’s doing to Scottish football what Pep Guardiola did for the English game. It’s a completely new approach that’s almost unheard of up here.
“We’re used to seeing our teams going abroad and trying to shut up shop and hoping to hang on for results. Celtic went out and imposed their game on their rivals. It’s bold, but you know what? It just might work.”
FLATTENED…Diazen Maeda sees a chance go astray in the fading moments in Warsaw.
The former Hoops goalscoring great added: “Expectations might have been fairly low going in, but now they are in with a great shout of securing European football beyond Christmas. Most fans would have accepted the Europa League after finishing third in the group, but now?
“Anything is possible. The RB Leipzig games are dangerous as it’s hard to know what to make of the German side. It looked like they downed tools in the Shakhtar hammering that got Domenico Tedesco the sack.
“Marco Rose came in and they beat Borussia Dortmund 3-0 and had chances against Real Madrid before they got punished with a couple of moments of quality late on.
“But if Celtic can cause Real and Shakhtar real problems, there’s no reason they can’t do the same to the Bundesliga outfit.
BLOCKED…Filipe Jota has an effort diverted by a desperate Shakhtar Donetsk defenders as Celtic chase a winner.
“There are lessons to be learned from the first two games. You simply cannot afford to pass up the kind of chances Celtic have fluffed against Real and Shakhtar. You look at Liel Abada and Daizen Maeda’s gilt-edged chances against the Spaniards – you don’t get better opportunities than those at this level.
“It was the same the other night. Kyogo was through in the first minute, you would have expected Giorgos Giakoumakis to bury his late chance and Maeda had another one.
“At domestic level there will always be another four or five opportunities coming along, but in the Champions League you might not get another sniff and there’s every chance your rival will punish you by taking theirs when they inevitably come along.
“But these are the fine margins at the top level.”
Celtic go back into Champions League action in Leipzig on Wednesday October 5 with the return in Glasgow six days later.