Celtic attacker Ryan Christie has touched on the agony of watching his team-mates crash out of Europe from the sidelines.
Christie was frustratingly suspended for the 3-1 loss to Copenhagen after picking up a booking in Denmark. It was he who gave away the penalty that Fraser Forster saved two weeks ago. The booking, however, was extremely harsh given the situation.
It led to a start for Tom Rogic in the second-leg. The Aussie put in a real shift but he struggled as the game wore on. He then gave the ball away in the closing stages too to allow Copenhagen to run away with it in the end.
Perhaps the most agonising thing from Christie’s point of view will be that there was nothing he could do about it all. And speaking in the Scottish Sun, he’s finally opened up on Thursday night.
“It was frustrating for me watching from the sidelines last Thursday. I felt the disappointment and I was gutted for the boys because I know how big our aspirations were to go far in Europe this season.
“We are still happy with the run we had with an amazing group stage. It was frustrating to go out, but we knew the perfect response was to get a win and book ourselves into a semi-final and we’re glad to do that.”
Group stage rightly inspired hope
Nobody can blame the Celtic supporters for expecting big things in Europe from our team this season. When you’ve confirmed top spot in the group stage after five games, you’re entitled to some expectation.
But whenever the club bows out of Europe, there’s always an over-reaction. Many supporters love UEFA competitions more than anything else. It’s the highlight of some fans’ season. Therefore, having the expectation of knocking Copenhagen out only to watch our team falter was highly disappointing.
However, it’s ironically probably the best we’ve performed in Europe since we were making the Champions League under Neil Lennon during his first spell.
We’ve achieved a couple of club firsts and managed to bring a bit of a fear factor back to Parkhead with three consecutive group stage home wins. The Copenhagen defeat hasn’t helped that of course.
As for Christie, the Copenhagen game highlighted just how much he was missed. His energy and ball-control were needed in the middle of the park, and with so many players lacking in their final ball, we could certainly have done with the Scotland international.
Regardless, it’s in the past now and we move on. Christie and co will only have eyes on securing the domestic treble, and that most certainly looks within reach.