* FIVE of the Celtic team who started the 3-0 victory over Anderlecht on September 27 were also in the line-up that kicked off Brendan Rodgers’ first European tie as Celtic boss.
Craig Gordon, Kieran Tierney, Scott Brown, Tom Rogic and Leigh Griffiths were in the side embarrassed 1-0 by Gibraltar’s semi-professional outfit Lincoln Red Imps on July 12, 2016.
Nir Bitton and James Forrest were also in at the start that fateful evening and both came on as second-half substitutes in the victory Brussels.
Right-back Saidy Janko, who spent most of last season on loan at Barnsley after making only six appearances under Rodgers, moved to St Etienne on a four-year deal in the summer while Efe Ambrose, following a temporary switch to Hibs in the run-in to the campaign, has joined Neil Lennon’s outfit on a permanent basis.
Moussa Dembele drew a blank against Red Imps and was substituted after the interval by Nadir Ciftci who is now on loan at Plymouth Argyle.
Ryan Christie, who will spend the season at Aberdeen, was replaced by Forrest, Erik Sviatchenko missed the victory over the Belgian champions with injury while Stuart Armstrong spent the evening on the bench.
The team that flopped on Rodgers’ first competitive game for the Hoops after succeeding Ronny Deila was: Gordon; Janko, Ambrose, Svietchenko, Tierney; Brown, Bitton, Rogic (sub: Armstrong), Christie (sub: Forrest); Dembele (sub: Ciftci) and Griffiths.
* RODGERS won three of his 12 European ties last season. The Hoops turned around the Red Imps score with a 3-0 victory in Glasgow with three quickfire first-half goals from Mikael Lustig, Griffiths and Patrick Roberts.
Celtic followed that up with a 1-1 draw against Astana on July 27 with a late goal from Griffiths and a 2-1 second leg triumph a week later. Two penalty-kicks from Griffiths and Dembele helped the club into the Champions League play-offs.
Goals from Griffiths (2), Dembele, Rogic and Brown handed them a 5-2 success over Hapoel Be’er Sheva. Gordon saved a penalty-kick in the return in Israel as the hosts won 2-0, but the Scottish title holders squeezed through 5-4 on aggregate.
* RODGERS endured a nightmare introduction to the Champions League group stages when Barcelona blitzed Celtic 7-0 at the Nou Camp on September 13, the club’s worst-ever result in Europe.
Two goals from Lionel Messi, who got a hat-trick in the first game, sealed a 2-0 victory for the Catalans at Parkhead. Celtic lost by the same score at home to Borussia Monchengladbach after two errors from Kolo Toure. A penalty-kick from Dembele gave them a 1-1 draw in Germany.
Celtic drew twice with Manchester City who arrived in Glasgow on September 28 after winning all 10 of their domestic games under Pep Guardiola. City had to fight back three times to gain a 3-3 draw. Dembele (2) and a Raheem Sterling own goal counted for the Hoops.
Patrick Roberts netted the opener against his parent club in the 1-1 draw on matchday six on December 6.
* RODGERS’ European adventures this season opened with a 2-0 win over Linfield on July 14 with Rogic and Sinclair on target. Five days later, they triumphed 4-0 with efforts from Sinclair (2), Rogic and Armstrong.
In the second qualifying round, a solitary strike from Forrest helped the Hoops past stubborn Rosenborg in Trondheim.
In the first leg play-off, efforts from Sinclair (2) and Forrest, plus two own goals, pushed Rodgers’ men to a 5-0 victory over old foes Astana. The Bhoys lost 4-3 in the return with Olivier Ntcham, Sinclair and Griffiths on the mark.
Paris Saint-Germain ran amok with a 5-0 success in the opening Group B game on September 12, but the Celts rallied to thump Anderlecht 3-0 in Brussels in the next encounter.
* RODGERS suffered a double loss in the back-to-back October fixtures against Bayern Munich. They went down 3-0 at the Allianz Arena with Thomas Muller, Joshua Kimmich and Mats Hummels sharing the goals.
It was a lot more dramatic at Parkhead when Callum McGregor equalised Kinglsey Coman’s first-half effort after a mistake from Dedryck Boyata, but Javi Martinez struck with a header 13 minutes from time to give the Bundesliga giants the points.
ORDER YOUR SIGNED COPY OF JIM CRAIG – RIGHT BACK TO 67, A LISBON LION DIARY TODAY!