Exclusive: John Hartson on Celtic’s Europa League ambitions

John Hartson has spoken exclusively to Football FanCast about what Celtic can hope to achieve in Europe this season.

What’s he said?

Having now failed to even make the group stages of the Champions League for two consecutive campaigns, Hartson has revealed his view of what a successful run in the Europa League will look like for Neil Lennon’s side.

“They’ve got a chance to get a little bit of revenge against Cluj. I think that success would be to get out of the qualifying round and get through to knockout stages.

“I think success would be to get out of the group – it’s not an easy group. And then obviously go one step further, get past the last 32 and into the last 16. I think that would be success for Neil Lennon.”

Revenge and progression

Domestic dominance. European disappointment. That has been Celtic’s story ever since that famous 2-1 win over Barcelona in 2012, as they have struggled to replicate that magic on the continental stage.

They have won the domestic treble three years running without ever really breaking a sweat, yet have found themselves thumped on multiple occasions by the likes of PSG and Barcelona.

Hartson knows a thing or two about big European nights – the former Wales international scored in the 2-0 UEFA Cup quarter-final win at Anfield in 2002 – and it’s difficult to disagree with his verdict.

After so much heartbreak in Europe’s elite competition, a campaign in which Lennon’s men get revenge on CFR Cluj, make it out of the group and enjoy a memorable knock-out tie to reach the last 16 would surely put smiles on fans’ faces.

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