Celtic have lost 24 of their past 31 Champions League games. Meanwhile, they have lost 24 of their past 264 domestic league games.
That tells us much about Celtic’s inbetweener status: too dominant on the home front, too diminished when stepping up to the highest level. The latter half of that equation was laid bare by the 5-0 battering by Paris Saint-Germain in the club’s Champions League opener on Tuesday night.
It is universally acknowledged that the financial differentials allowing the Paris side to field a frontline worth more than £400 million mean domestic titans from small leagues such as Celtic are always likely to be also-rans at the cutting edge of continental competition.
To Kieran Tierney, however, that doesn’t preclude the Scottish champions giving a better account of themselves than they did in midweek. The 20-year-old believes they will do that by learning lessons from the pain inflicted on them in scintillating fashion by an opponent providing an exhibition of total football.
“They don’t waste a ball,” the left back said of what impressed him most. “If it’s a high ball, we’d maybe look to get it clear, but they’ll bring it down on the chest and play it. You look at Dani Alves. There’ll be a ball over the top and he’s close to me and he’s comfortable about taking it on the chest and passing it.
“If we tried to press them, their one and two-touch play was unbelievable. You think you’re going to get there and nick it, but they’re just touching it away and they’re on the break again. They’re a world class team, no doubt about it.
“But we’ll need to be better next time. They are probably the best front three in the world. The money they spend is crazy. It’s hard to play against them, even more so when it’s your first group game and you haven’t had time to settle in.”
Tierney added: “But the first half wasn’t good enough from us, we should have done better. Then in the second half we got better, we had half an hour when we were in it, then we tired and they got two quick goals which kind of ruined it. You don’t get those chances at this level, you need to do it from the word go because once they score it’s always going to be hard to get yourself back in.”