Celtic supporters were full of praise for their side in the Transfer Tavern last night after the Bhoys narrowly lost out to Bayern Munich in their Champions League clash at Celtic Park, although a 2-1 defeat has ended the Scottish club’s qualification chances.
Brendan Rodgers’ men went into their clash with the Bundesliga champions having won just one of their opening three group stage games, which included a 3-0 reverse at the Allianz Arena just a fortnight ago. And the visitors threatened another comfortable evening by taking a 22nd minute lead through Kingsley Coman, yet the Bhoys responded admirably by equalising 16 minutes from time through Callum McGregor. But they were to be denied a famous result when Javi Martinez rose highest to head home just three minutes later, in turn meaning that Celtic cannot now qualify for the knockout stages.
Nevertheless, it was a spirited and uplifting display from Rodgers’ side on Tuesday night and it’s one which stimulated a lot of praise and delight from our resident Celtic fans, who will now turn their attentions to a potentially record-breaking clash at St Johnstone on Saturday knowing that avoiding defeat would break their own 100-year record of 62 domestic games unbeaten.
And attentions have also been turning to potential January business at Parkhead, and recent reports from The Scottish Sun suggest that English Championship outfit Nottingham Forest are set to up the ante in pursuit of St Mirren starlet and Celtic target Lewis Morgan.
The 21-year-old originally started his youth career at Rangers but made the move to St Mirren back in 2013, from which he has since made his senior debut and gone on to appear a further 91 times, bagging 19 goals and laying on 15 assists in the process.
And this season has seen the winger take it up another gear with eight goals and five assists in just 16 games for Jack Ross’ side, and as such he has reportedly attracted the attention of Forest, Celtic, and indeed rivals Rangers.
Yet it is Rodgers’ men who hold all the aces in pursuit of the attacking sensation, as Celtic, despite having dominated Scottish football for so many years, are actually a club on the up under the former Liverpool boss, and are becoming an increasingly attractive proposition for any young players.
Ultimately, the Bhoys’ 2-1 defeat to Bayern Munich on Tuesday night could be watershed moment as, although they lost the game, it was the clearest indication yet that Rodgers’ side were bridging the gap to those in Europe after several tricky years in the continent’s elite competition.
Add in a marvellous 62-match domestic unbeaten run, and thus the clean sweep of trophies last season, and this Celtic team is one of the best we’ve seen in a very long time, and given Rodgers’ track record at previous clubs like Liverpool and Swansea City, he will give young players a chance to stake a claim as well.
Raheem Sterling became a permanent fixture in Rodgers’ Liverpool side between 2012 and 2015, while he also gave the likes of Jordon Ibe and Joe Gomez their Reds debuts during his stint at Anfield, while Joe Allen became the player he is today having been given a sustained run in Swansea’s first team back in 2010, again under Rodgers.
And at Celtic, defender Kieran Tierney has attracted interest of Premier League clubs under Rodgers’ guidance, while the likes of Calvin Miller and Michael Johnston have all received their senior debuts under the 44-year-old.
And that must surely be of interest to Scotland Under-21 international Morgan, as not only could opportunities be forthcoming at a Scottish Premiership side, but none other than Celtic, where the chances of winning silverware and playing in Europe are dramatically increased.
Thus, developing under Rodgers, like so many that have gone before, as well as the chance to play for one of the biggest clubs in the land on some of the biggest stages in the game appears to be more than what Forest and indeed Rangers can offer.
And for a young Scotsman working his way up and likely harbouring ambitions of playing for his country, it’s a move which may be extremely difficult to turn down.
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