Celtic captain Scott Brown has called on his team-mates to show the courage necessary to revive their Champions League ambitions after delivering what he describes as an “unacceptable” second-half capitulation in the 7-0 defeat by Barcelona.
The size of the task facing the Scottish champions in Group C of Europe’s elite club tournament was dramatically underlined by the record loss they suffered on matchday one in the Nou Camp on Tuesday.
Celtic face another daunting assignment in their next fixture when Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City travel to Glasgow in a fortnight.
It is a fixture Brown insists Celtic must take something from if they are to maintain hopes of further progress from a group which also includes Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach.
“We need to bounce back against Manchester City,” said Brown. “We need to try and get something from that game. We know that at Celtic Park, with our fans, anything can happen.
“It was the second half against Barcelona that we are really disappointed with. To lose five goals in 45 minutes is unacceptable. Everyone was disappointed in our changing room. Barcelona are entitled to score goals, they’re a great team, but we should do better than that. It’s 7-0. I’m not going to come away from it laughing and joking, am I? It’s hard to take, but they are a great team.
“They’re the best team in the world right now, there’s no doubting that. Their front three are exceptional – their movement, their vision, their calmness on the ball – but we need to defend better from the front, midfield and the back. We’ve got to be a lot more compact and braver on the ball.”
Around 4,000 Celtic fans were present in the Nou Camp to watch their team torn apart as Lionel Messi grabbed a hat-trick, Luis Suarez struck twice and goals from Neymar and Andres Iniesta completed the rout. Winger Scott Sinclair expressed his sympathy for his club’s supporters as he reflected on what he agreed was the lowest point he had experienced in his career.
“One hundred per cent,” replied Sinclair. “It hurts us as players. When we have a defeat like that, it’s not good enough. It was a very difficult night. There’s not really much more to say about the game.
“It’s a big shame for all our travelling fans to come and see a performance like that. When we created the penalty chance [at 1-0 down], we were looking like going forward but we conceded very early and that was the stage where we felt like it was going to be a long night.
“The likes of Messi, Neymar and Suarez have goals in them so we needed to defend well. But obviously we didn’t.”