CELTIC boss Brendan Rodgers reckons his team have answered the critics with their displays in the Champions League group stages this season.
The Hoops were written off by many as soon as they were paired with Barcelona, Manchester City and Borussia Monchengladbach and they made a disastrous start in their 7-0 mauling from Messi and Co in the Nou Camp in September.
However, the players responded with a spirited performance in the dramatic 3-3 draw with Pep Guardiola’s all-stars at Parkhead and on Tuesday evening at Borussia Park they fought back to draw 1-1 with the Bundesliga outfit.
A dreadful miss from Callum McGregor from six yards with only three minutes remaining prevented Rodgers’ side from a famous away victory against the team who had beaten them 2-0 in Glasgow a fortnight previously.
The Scottish champions went into this week’s encounter without the injured quartet of Kieran Tierney, Kolo Toure, Jozo Simunovic and Leigh Griffiths and still managed to get a point thanks to an expertly-taken penalty-kick from Moussa Dembele, his third goal in the group stages.
Now the Hoops will host Barcelona on November 23, before completing their Champions League fixtures at the Etihad Stadium on December 6 – and Rodgers admitted he has been content with his team’s application so far.
He said: “I think everyone’s expectation coming into it was that we wouldn’t get a point. Everyone noted the opponents we were playing and that we would be lucky to get even a point. Barcelona away, of course we deserved nothing.
“Manchester City was an outstanding team performance, we got a point from that and great encouragement from the performance.
“We were second best on the night at home against Monchengladbach, we didn’t quite get to our level.
“But our last game away we showed a good level of performance and we picked up a deserved point.
“So, it is game by game. A tough one the next one, but I really look forward to that and we hope to get back to that level we showed against Manchester City.
“Win, lose or draw, the next two games are about performance levels. I said it was going to be a learning process for us and you can see the players are learning.
“We go into every game thinking we can win and that has always got to be the ambition. We recognise we are up against the world’s best team and it will be tough for us.”