With Celtic set to return to league action against Hamilton on Saturday, as soon as that game is completed all thoughts will turn to the Hoops’ return to Europe.
The Hoops will face an away trip to Rennes in their opening group stage match of the Europa League next Thursday. If the Hoops are to make it out of the group stages, they will have to get decent results on the road. That means a point at the very least against the French side.
Away form has been exceptional
The good news for Celtic is that so far in Europe this season, their away form has been exceptional. In four away matches in Europe this season so far, Celtic have won three and drawn one.
Obviously the games in the Europa League will be tougher than the majority of games played away so far, but it is still a platform to build on.
Need to improve on away record from last season
That should provide Celtic with confidence for the game in France. The team will still have to play well against Rennes though. The Hoops must also improve on their away record in the group stages from last season.
Celtic did manage to finish second in the group and reach the last 32 of the competition. However, they picked up only three points from nine available. That might not be good enough to finish second this time around.
Celtic will have an idea of what kind of team Rennes are, as the teams met in a pre-season friendly which ended in a 0-0 draw back in July.
However, the group stage game is likely to be very different from a not very competitive friendly. Getting a point in the first game for the Hoops would be a platform to build on for the rest of the group stages.
A win would set them up even better though. The statistics show that the Hoops don’t need to fear Rennes. If the team believe in themselves, they could get a more than decent result in France.