Former Celtic star and BT Sport sport pundit John Hartson believes the Hoops will be putting all their focus on domestic football over the next few months rather than the UEFA Europa League, as reported by The Sunday Post.
The Hoops have a mammoth tie against Valencia on the immediate horizon, with the first leg coming this Thursday at a sold out Celtic Park.
It’ll be another romantic and dramatic evening under the lights at Paradise and a fixture that captures the imagination of every supporters.
Hartson is no stranger to juggling European football with a title race having been part of the team that made it to Seville in 2003, and he believes all our focus should be on eight-in-a-row.
As quoted by The Sunday Post, the former striker said:
When I look at what Brendan Rodgers and his players have to do in the next three months, it makes me think about what we had on our plate.
First of all, I think their main focus will be on the domestic scene. I don’t think at this stage they’ll be thinking that they are going to the Europa League Final.
Their main outlook will be keeping their distance from Rangers and the rest at the top of the table. But if they can produce a performance over two legs to knock out Valencia, then they may well allow their minds to dream a little bit, and rightly so.
Everyone at Celtic will also know the importance of not getting carried away and making sure they win eight-in-a-row. We all know how vital that is, and they will not want to give Rangers any encouragement on that front at this stage.
The Hoops famously and heartbreakingly missed out on major honours in the 2002/03 season after a titanic European campaign, so the Welshman is not wrong to warn against the toll that an extended European run can have on a team down the stretch.
That won’t stop fans believing something special can happen under Brendan Rodgers though and there will be no thoughts of league action when the lights go up on Thursday night, the music blasts and the fans start to sing You’ll Never Walk Alone.
Can we shock Valencia and head into the last 16 of the competition?