I know you are feeling more confident than the cold facts suggest you should be. Bayern Munich are one of the top four favourites to win the Champions League (as are PSG), they comprehensively beat Celtic 3-0 less than two weeks ago and fear no stadium in the world.
But, you have seen similar movies before, where Celtic overcame Juventus, Manchester United, Milan and Barcelona. You know better than to write-off Celtic at home in the Champions League. We have a point to prove: Bayern did not see the best of us in Bavaria earlier this month. They were superior across the field, but they have no idea how true a reflection of our ability this was.
My suspicion is that we can play much better. James Forrest is more suited to the counter-attacking play we can expect, so I don’t think the absence of Patrick Roberts will be material to the challenge. Despite Saturday’s draw, legs have been undertaxed for six days, so muscles and minds will be fresh for the challenge.
This is not Bayern Munich’s cup final. In fact, they have a table-topping clash with Borussia Dortmund ahead on Saturday, on balance, a more important game than tonight’s. We need to use the pain of defeat from two weeks ago. Leverage the fact that we underperformed; showed nothing of our real ability, to cause an upset.
I could easily tell you why third place in the group would be more useful to Celtic than second, but even the narrowest of wins leaves a place in the last 16 a possibility. Despite the coefficient points and possibility of Europa League football into the spring, I’d bite your hand off for a chance of knocking Bayern out.
The cynic in me was surprised to hear Kieran Tierney signed a six-year contract. Deals of this duration are remarkable, few successful players are prepared to commit to anything like this term.
It is great news for Celtic. They don’t really need to worry about losing the player until 2021, when he enters the final two years of his contract, but by then, I am sure we will be speaking to him again.
Kieran appears to have his career mapped out. His Generation (cough) at the club is certain to be very successful. He will win many trophies, represent Celtic on stages across the continent, and earn a significant amount of money doing so.
We are doing something right.
Enjoy the game. Drink in every stomach-knotting second of it.
BRENDAN RODGERS – The Road to Paradise is available now from CQNBookstore.com and for the first 100 sold on the bookstore we will include a free gift.