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  • Brown: Celts have shown Champions League improvement

    Brown: Celts have shown Champions League improvement

    By: Mark Henderson in Manchester on 05 Dec, 2016 22:30

  • SCOTT Brown believes Celtic’s UEFA Champions League campaign this season has been a valuable learning experience that will stand the team in good stead going forward.

    Having qualified for the group phase for the first time in three years under new manager Brendan Rodgers, the Hoops lost heavily in their opening match away to Barcelona.

    But the Bhoys bounced back with a dazzling display to draw 3-3 with Manchester City and also produced impressive performances away to Borussia Monchengladbach and at home to Barcelona, though ultimately it wasn’t enough to secure them European football beyond Christmas.

    And as the Scottish champions prepare for their final group game away to City tomorrow (Tuesday) night, Brown was upbeat about how the team had fared against top-class opposition and positive about the team’s future prospects in the competition.

    “The whole campaign from the start to now has been a learning process,” he said. “We got better after the first result and that’s what we aimed to do all the way through it, learning to play in the Champions League, and now it’s more about us focusing for next season and showing we are good enough to be back in it next season as well.”

    “Everyone wrote us off after that first game, that we wouldn’t get a point and that we weren’t good enough, but we have been a bit unlucky and we could have won a couple of games and have six points but it wasn’t to be.

    “The reason I signed at Celtic was to play in the Champions League and to enjoy nights like tomorrow and Barcelona at home,” continued the captain.  

    “It’s been great to get back into it as the last few seasons have been very disappointing as we didn’t do well in it (Champions League) or the Europa League, but we had a fresh start this season and it was all about performances when we got to the Champions League with a new manager and players.

    “Now it’s about pushing on as far as we possibly can in the next couple of years with this group of players. It’s all about building to the future, along with trying to keep hold of everyone that has been doing well this season.”

    Brown reckons Celtic certainly won't be fazed at facing the big-spending English Premier League side in the City of Manchester Stadium given how they went toe-to-toe with them in the corresponding fixture in Paradise.   

    “It was a huge game for us,” he said. “We needed to do that, especially after going away to Barcelona and losing so many goals and not creating a lot of chances. 

    "But we believed we could bounce back and we could play against these teams, and the belief and the form has slowly improved after the first game.”

    “Our fans pushed us on. We did well, we pressed them high up the park and forced them into making into mistakes and we scored a couple of goals.

    “We lost a couple of goals but you are playing against a great team, they are going to create chances and we were just a bit unlucky on the night. Hopefully we can do it again tomorrow.”

    "We want to go and enjoy ourselves," added the midfielder. "The pressure is kind of off everyone as well so we can go and perform.”

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