THE curtain will fall on Celtic’s European adventure for this season against reigning European champions Real Madrid in the Bernabeu a week today.
It’s all over for another year at least following the frustrating 1-1 draw with Shakhtar Donetsk at Parkhead last night.
The stalemate left the Hoops still waiting for their first Champions League win in this campaign after three defeats and two draws leaving them anchored to the foot of Group F with two points from a possible 15.
Now the encounter with the Spanish masters, 3-0 winners in the east end of Glasgow in the opening match in September, means nothing with only pride at stake.
However, Ange Postecoglou is determined to guide the team to better days among Europe’s elite, despite their failings home and away this time around.
The Greek-Australian gaffer said: “This football club deserves to be at this level. We haven’t been here for five years and you can’t miss being at this level for five years and then come in and make an impact, we know that.
“So, our role and our main responsibility is to keep coming back to this competition every year and growing every year, and making sure that, as a football club, we stand amongst the big clubs of Europe – and that takes a little bit of time.
“We’ve got to make sure we win the league again and get back to this level and, hopefully, we make progress and make more of an impact.”
After last night’s deadlock against the Ukrainians, Celtic are even left without the consolation of a place in the Europa League.
Reflecting on the game and another missed opportunity, Postecoglou, speaking to Celtic TV, continued: “With so much at stake, it was never going to be an open affair.
“They were never going to open up too much, even at 1-0 down, so I never thought it was going to be a game with a lot of chances.
“But I thought for the most part we controlled the game well, we got into good areas and minimised their threats to one or two chances, but as I said, in the end, that’s the fine margins. They’ve scored a world-class goal and they got back in the game.
“At this level, you have to earn everything you get and that’s part of the process.”
The Hoops boss added: “You know that it requires massive effort every time and that’s why victories at this level are not easy to come by, and for us as a football club, that’s what we aspire to be.
“We want to be a Champions League football club that is there every year and is making an impact and that’s our task now.
“It’s fine margins, but I can’t ask any more from the players. They’ve given everything this whole campaign.
“There’s some learnings there and areas where we’ve fallen short, but, overall, we’ve tried to set out going a certain way and I think we’ve done that.”