Can Brendan Rodgers Take Celtic’s Winning Mentality Into Europe?

Brendan Rodgers

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Football supporters live for 97th minute winners.

In terms of drama and excitement there’s simply no better way to win a game of football and it’s a reward for the supporters, the players and the coaching staff for their efforts in any given game.

This Celtic side – like many Celtic sides before them – have now shown that they too will go to the very last whistle in order to get the desired result, and it bodes well for our future under Brendan Rodgers.

Speaking even before the dramatic late win against Motherwell on Saturday he was keen to praise his team for the mental fortitude they had displayed in recent weeks.

“I think the team have taken a really big mental step forward, and I think you see that in how they’re performing.” he said.

“The determination, the intensity, the quality’s starting to move forward into the levels that I want to get to, and that’s always the beginning of a really good team.”

To then go and cement his words in spectacular fashion at the weekend with such a late winner shows that – domestically at least – Rodgers has his players in a very good place.

Wins away from home at Pittodrie, Ibrox, Livingston and now Fir Park have shown that his new look side has the strength of character to dig deep when it matters most, and it’s these results that now leave the Hoops four clear of second placed St Mirren at the top of the Scottish Premiership table.

Having won seven from a possible seven domestic trophies first time around we know that Rodgers has the skillset required to dominate the game here in Scotland.

But can he now translate that winning mentality on to European football’s biggest stage?


Celtic Captain Callum McGregor
Callum McGregor Will Lead Celtic In Tonight’s Clash With Lazio

There’s no doubt that European success is a section of Rodgers’ CV that could do with improvement and the 50 year will be as keen as anyone around Celtic Park to rectify that.

Questions have been raised as to whether the ambitions of the Celtic board match that of the manager, and despite a summer spend in the region of £18M he had to enter this season’s Champions League with very limited cover at left back, striker and goalkeeper.

He may well be provided with reinforcements in January of course, but will we still be in Europe by that stage?

The new deals for Reo Hatate, Matt O’Riley and co. are however a very welcome boost and in addition to being smart moves from a business point of view it also provides Rodgers with the kind of dressing room harmony that all top manager strives for.

Some big personalities are emerging from this current Celtic squad and in addition to skipper Callum McGregor and Joe Hart, we’ve seen others such as like O’Riley, Alistair Johnston and Kyogo come to the fore in the early months of this season.


Alistair Johnston In action Against Feyenoord On Matchday 1
Alistair Johnston In action Against Feyenoord On Matchday 1

The reason many of these players make the move to Glasgow however is for the potential of Champions League football and to showcase their talents on that platform.

Simply taking part isn’t enough to satisfy these players – nor their manager – and the time to show that is tomorrow night against Lazio at Celtic Park.

If Celtic are to have any hopes of qualifying out of Group E then they simply must take something from their home games.

With Atletico Madrid and Feyenoord making strong starts in their own domestic campaigns it’s this clash with 16th placed Lazio that represents the best possible opportunity to grab three valuable Champions League points.

Celtic Park will be at fever pitch by the time tonight’s 8pm kick off comes around, and there’s a renewed sense of optimism in the air just now.

Matt O’Riley is in the form of his Hoops career, the manager has his swagger back, and as supporters we’re once again ‘All-In’

And in just a few hours time we’ll find out if this Celtic side also have the mental resilience required to once again make an impact at the highest level of the European game.

Tune in now for our Countdown To Kick-Off as Tino & Brydo bring you all the big talking points ahead of Champions League Matchday 2

Celtic v Lazio - Champion's league

Listen to the opening section of the episode here:

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