When it comes to Champions League away days there seems to be one main topic for discussion- Celtic’s away record!
Five years ago Gary Hooper and Georgios Samaras conjured up a surprise win in Moscow that finally broke that long painful run stretching back over a decade where there were a few skelpings but equally luck rarely favoured the hoops.
Anderlecht is one case in point, losing in 2003 to ten men was one of the biggest disappointments in Martin O’Neill’s time in charge.
In 2007 away to Benfica in a team that had Chris Killen as the sole striker it took an 87th minute goal from Cardozo.
Under Brendan Rodgers there were two contrasting away days defeats soon after he took over, enough has been written about Lincoln Red Imps and Barcelona already so like Stewart Regan there is no need to rake over old coals.
Since those matches Celtic’s away day form has been more than decent- certainly better than their home results.
The signs have been promising and gives the hoops boss plenty to build on with a win in the Belgian capital marking a real sea change in the club’s fortunes even though Munich and Paris have still to be negotiated.
BORUSSIA MONCHENGLADBACH 1-1 CELTIC
After losing 2-0 at home expectations for this match were rock bottom with anything less than seven looked on as progress by the pessimists.
Celtic gave as good as they got in the first half as it became obvious that in the home match Gladbach had played above themselves and the hoops had turned in a below average display.
Lars Stindl put the home side in front just past the half hour mark but Celtic stuck to their guns with the introduction of Patrick Roberts on the hour mark causing the Germans problems.
It was the on loan Manchester City kid that opened the Gladbach defence for the penalty that Moussa Dembele converted, Callum McGregor missed a great chance late on but there was no comparison with the earlier away day in Barcelona.
MANCHESTER CITY 1-1 CELTIC
Despite resting a couple of players the word from Manchester was that City were intent on revenge for the 3-3 draw in Glasgow that pulled the rug from under their season.
A City player did open the scoring but it was Patrick Roberts wearing a black Celtic shirt. Kelechi Iheanacho equalised soon after but Celtic refused to park the bus and continued to keep possession and attack as they had done in Monchengladbach.
Exiting the Champions League is never fun but in a genuine group of death where nil points were predicted taking two points from draws on the road was definite progress.
LINFIELD 0-2 CELTIC
A football match did break out but there were dozen of other issues dominating this Friday night clash in Belfast.
After a week of predictable racial abuse it was appropriate that Scott Sinclair opened the scoring but there was only one further goal to follow from Tom Rogic.
Roy Carroll was in inspired form for the home side but it was Leigh Griffiths in the headlines afterwards as he got booked for having a bottle of Buckfast thrown at him then suspended for a match after tying a Celtic scarf to a goal post at Windsor Park.
ROSENBORG 0-1 CELTIC
After a goal-less home draw there were plenty of nerves going into this tie in Norway.
Ronny Deila offered to spy for both teams but that offer was overlooked, twice.
It was a sound disciplined display by Celtic, when Leigh Griffiths came on after an hour the game swung Celtic’s way with a stunning shot from James Forrest booking a play off spot.
ASTANA 4-3 CELTIC
Just when you thought that the hoops were getting to grips with things along came this encounter to throw most theories out the window.
After a 5-0 home win this match should have been stress free, at half time with the scores level at 1-1 all seemed to be going to plan.
Three goals from the home side in the first 25 minutes of the second half set off alarm bells- three more goals in the last 20 would have been as embarrassing as losing in Luxembourg.
There were two more goals on the night, fortunately from Olivier Ntcham and Leigh Griffiths as Celtic made it to the group phase with just a hint at drama.