CELTIC’S stupendous winning run and goalscoring sequence came to a run with a 2-1 loss to AZ Alkmaar in the Netherland last night.
The Hoops went into the crucial encounter following a burst of 24 goals in six games, but, despite scoring inside three minutes through Kyogo Furuhashi – his seventh strike in seven starts – Ange Postecoglou’s men made life difficult for themselves with two defensive blunders to give the Dutch outfit hope.
In the end, the team saw it through to get into today group ballot and skipper Callum McGregor acknowledged that he and his team-mates will have to take something from a nervy occasion against very good opponents.
The Scotland international midfielder said: “Listen, it’s not always going to be plain-sailing, passing teams off the pitch, scoring five goals.
“It is important for us to learn from this experience.
“It is great that we got through, but it doesn’t really mean anything if you don’t learn from it.
“When you come up against opponents who want to press, you then you have to move that wee bit quicker, you have to trust yourself, trust your mate on the ball. In the second-half, there was probably a 20-minute spell where we steadied the ship a little bit and we got through the game.”
McGregor, speaking to the Daily Mail, added: ”Obviously, we know how important group stage football is to the club, what it brings to the club, how important it is to the supporters.
“The competition has now got fewer teams in it, so the quality of the opposition is now higher.
“It is great for us to still be in the mix and be in the group stages.”
Europe can now go on the back-burner while Celtic switch their attention once more to gathering Premiership points with the first Glasgow derby of the season due at Ibrox on Sunday with a midday kick-off.