Brendan Rodgers enjoyed a quite smile of satisfaction at the praise Celtic received after their devastating win at Aberdeen- it mostly came from the same sources that criticised the hoops a week earlier while losing to Bayern Munich.
The Celtic boss has the difficult task of bridging the gap between the SPFL and the Champions League with the group stage draw over the last two seasons far from friendly.
Manchester City, Barcelona, Paris St Germain and Bayern Munich all expect to be in this season’s last eight at least, if you add Real Madrid to the mix it could be four from five for this season’s semi finalists.
Having spent around Â£15m over three transfer windows Rodgers has to work on developing an ethos through the club that can take them closer to the European elite, perhaps even make Celtic competitive.
The Irishman could have gone for quick fixes to protect his own reputation but is prepared to take the flack that comes from playing an open game against the giants in order to progress Celtic in the direction he wishes to take the club.
â€œWillie Miller made the comment about that level of performance from a Scottish team that you donâ€™t see,â€� Rodgers told The Scotsman referring to the hoops win at Aberdeen. â€œThat comes from playing against Bayern Munich when we lost 3-0 away. You hear all the daftness about pragmatism after games. If weâ€™re pragmatic we donâ€™t play like that at Aberdeen.
â€œWe are in a way of working and committed to it, an idea of how to play. Over time that will give us the best chance of succeeding collectively. But if youâ€™re just going to put player-for-player against the super powers itâ€™s near on impossible. We aim to be as competitive as we can as a collective.
â€œItâ€™s all relative. It gets to me at some point, thatâ€™s why I thought the criticism of the players after Munich was excessive; it was incredible, really. Iâ€™d love to sit down and find out what people expect. If weâ€™re to beat Bayern and PSG, is that what people expect? And to finish first or second in the group? Is that what people expect?â€�
On Tuesday night Celtic get the chance to put some lessons into practise when Bayern roll into Glasgow.
A win is still long odds against but the 60,000 fans watching will be hoping to see the German’s tested, put under pressure and pinned back at stages.
A goal or a draw would be very welcome but with Rodgers playing a longer game it may be after Christmas in the Europa League that Celtic fans see the dividends.