CELTIC manager Brendan Rodgers reflected with some satisfaction on the dramatic events at Celtic Park on Tuesday evening when his side went toe to toe with one of the best sides in European and were unlucky not to get at least a draw from the game.
And the Irishman will have taken particular satisfaction in the knowledge that three of the best players on the park on the night came from the Celtic Academy.
James Forrest looked like a world class winger and at times was unplayable. His through ball to Callum McGregor was as thing or rare beauty as far as football played in Scotland these days is concerned.
McGregor, overlooked by Gordon Strachan recently for the the Scotland World Cup qualifying campaign, proved to Strachan and everyone else that he is capable, indeed more than capable of holding his own and holding on to the ball, at this level.
And then there is Kieran Tierney who this week signed a new six year deal with Celtic to keep him at the club until 12 in a row, as the Celtic fans describe it. And Brendan Rodgers, in Belfast last night at his book launch, said as Kieran was staying for 12 in row, maybe he’d have to too!
“I was really pleased with the co-ordination in the team and how they worked the ball and played with composure at this level,” Rodgers said.
“It’s another step for us in terms of being a competitive side but playing proper football. It’s a huge step for their confidence. Apart from the two goals we conceded defensively we were very good.
“Kieran up against Arjen Robben was outstanding again. Scott Brown was controlling in midfield and I thought Moussa was very good up front.
“Kieran’s a really special player. I’ve worked with what I’d consider to be the two left-backs in Britain in Danny Rose and Ryan Bertrand, and KT’s right up there with those boys.
“He’s still very young, but his quality, his will and his determination is there for all to see.
“He loves playing at Celtic and with nights like this you can see why he signed here. He’s a real special talent but also a boy that’s very focused on improving.
“For 20 years of age, to play with that composure is impressive.”
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