Pundit backs uncompromising Celtic in Champions League

By Dave Flanigan

July 17, 2022

Former Celtic star Mark Wilson has backed manager Ange Postecoglou to stick to his philosophy for the forthcoming Champions League group stage campaign.

Wilson played in the Champions League under Gordon Strachan, including the last time the club started the season without European qualifiers in 2008-09.

Speaking to The Scotsman, Wilson said: “They are all winners at Celtic Park. They won’t settle for defeats. It will be interesting to see if Ange does tinker with things for the European games. He didn’t last season, and there were some fantastic games. But the team conceded more goals than they would have liked.

Photo by Chris Coleman/Manchester United via Getty Images

“To be honest, I don’t think he will go all defensive. He’ll stick to his beliefs. It will be exciting, and it will be edge-of-the-seat stuff for long periods.”

Wilson’s final Champions League appearances for the club came in 2008-09, when the Bhoys failed to make the last 16 for the first time in three years, but the ex-full-back believes Postecoglou’s side have what it takes to go one better and pull off upsets on European football’s biggest stage

He continued: “The fans will be entertained. Celtic won’t win every game in their section, but they will give it a good go. They will face teams with superior players but they can never be ruled out over 90 minutes. It can be done. The unexpected can happen.

“I suppose to pull off something extraordinary would mean getting into the knock-out stages. That would be brilliant. But let’s just wait and see what the draw brings. I’m excited about it, I really am.”

Celtic last made the group stage of the Champions League in 2017-18 under Brendan Rodgers, finishing third with a single win in a group containing PSG, Bayern Munich and Anderlecht.

The Bhoys famously last qualified for the knockout stages of Europe’s premier competition a decade ago in 2012-13 under Neil Lennon, beating Barcelona on the 125th anniversary of the club’s foundation in 1888.

Celtic will find out their opponents when the Champions League group stage draw takes place on Thursday 25th August, 5pm (GMT).

In other news: Matt O’Riley addresses Celtic pre-season mistakes