Celtic devise plan for Atletico Madrid - 'we want to be able to take on the best teams in the world'

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers will spend the lead-up to Wednesday’s Champions League hosting of Atletico Madrid formulating a strategy to counter “one of the best teams in the world”.

However, the stature of Diego Simone’s men won’t cause Rodgers to avoid facing them up – even as the Spaniards are fresh from a 3-0 weekend success over Celta Vigo earned with an Antoine Griezman hat-trick and have won their past six encounters, which includes derby success over Real Madrid. The Irishman is convinced Celtic’s recent domestic form, continued with a 4-1 flogging of Hearts at Tynecastle on Sunday, will ensure they do not lack belief in seeking a first home win in the competition for a decade. Even as they sit on zero points in Group E after the last-gasp 2-1 loss in Glasgow to Lazio three week’s ago followed on from the 2-0 reverse with nine-men away to Feyenoord.

“We are playing a club that are one of the best in the world and one of the top teams,” the Celtic manager said. “We want to be able to take on the best teams in the world. We don’t have to be the best, but we certainly want to take them on. The players will go into it with great confidence. It will be an amazing atmosphere and we will devise a plan over the next few days. I think the players have been unfortunate that they haven’t picked up something in the first two games. I think the performance levels have been good and now we have a great chance to get our first points on the board.”

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And Scottish football’s current stand-out performer Matt O’Riley – who plundered his sixth goal of the season with a deft volley in Gorgie – is in no doubt the Scottish champions have the wherewithal to end a 12-game sequence without a victory at club football’s elite level, providing they can produce the edge to match their general play. “If we play well and take our chances, and we believe we can do that, then anything is possible,” said the Celtic midfielder. “We have seen that before in previous Champions League games in the past, I think performance is definitely there. It’s just a matter of being ruthless in both boxes, to be honest.”



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