Former BBC pundit Noel Whelan has suggested that Celtic could now qualify for the Champions League knockout stages after securing a draw against Shakhtar Donetsk last week.
The Lowdown: Champions League results
The Hoops began their European campaign by welcoming defending champions Real Madrid to Parkhead. After a strong 0-0 performance in the first half, Ange Postecoglou’s side failed to keep Los Blancos out thereafter and Celtic fell to a 3-0 defeat.
The Latest: Whelan’s claim
Whelan, who used to work as a pundit for BBC Radio Leeds, believes that Celtic could still make their way through to the Champions League knockout stages, or alternatively progress even further in the Europa League.
Speaking with Football Insider, the 47-year-old claimed: “Anything can happen – but they’ll be fighting tooth and nail to stay in this competition.
“It’s the best competition in the world, the strongest competition in the world. They’ll be up against sides with much bigger budgets, but it’s a challenge that Postecoglou and his players are very much up to.
“These two games against Leipzig are must-wins. But they did well against Real Madrid for an hour and that is a good sign going forwards. Bringing back a point away from home is massive.
“If they finish third in the group and drop down to the Europa League then they can go forward – but I think they can stay in the Champions League.”
The Verdict: Huge games coming up
Celtic now have to wait until 5 October for their next European clash against RB Leipzig, which will take place at the Red Bull Arena.
Are Celtic capable of reaching the Champions League last 16?
Therefore, if the Hoops are to defeat their Bundesliga opponents, the opportunity is seemingly there for the taking.
With club action now parked until the beginning of October, Postecoglou will have time to assess Celtic in training to see how best to approach the double header against Leipzig, which now looks set to shape whether or not the Scottish champions emerge from their group.
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