Celtic will learn from Barcelona loss, says former striker

Celtic were devastated by Barcelona in their Champions League group match. Picture: AP
Celtic were devastated by Barcelona in their Champions League group match. Picture: AP
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Hibernian striker James Keatings took inspiration from a Nou Camp visit and believes his former Celtic team-mates can also learn from a less enjoyable trip to Barcelona.

Keatings once got the chance to train at Barcelona’s stadium and watch their first team doing the same after winning a seven-a-side tournament with Wishaw-based St Aidan’s High School.

He was stunned by the quality on show, but he believes Celtic can take lessons from their own experience following their 7-0 Champions League defeat.

“It shows where Scotland is as a football nation,” said Keatings, who was speaking at the launch of the Topps SPFL Match Attax card collection.

“There is a massive financial gap. But it’s about Scottish football learning from games like that and trying to teach our young boys to play the best way they can.

“I had the joy as a young boy to go to the Nou Camp and actually watch them training.

“I was shocked by the tempo and the touch and the way they pass the ball, the pace they pass the ball to each other. It was just a totally different wavelength.

“It was great for me as a young boy, they are the teams you want to watch and hopefully pick up things from and take into your own game.

“It was a great experience. Henrik Larsson was there and he was my hero, so I managed to meet him.”

Keatings feels Celtic will ultimately be better for the painful experience.

“What I saw of it, it was a joy to watch as a footballer,” the 24-year-old said. “It’s something you can learn from. The Celtic players will be watching clips back of it and and playing in it they will learn a lot from it. It was brilliant to watch as a footballer and a football fan.

“It will be a hard one to take, but I don’t think any Celtic fan expected Celtic to go over there and win.”

Keatings believes he and his Hibs team-mates are also learning from past experiences after continuing their perfect start to their Ladbrokes Championship campaign with a 1-0 victory at Dumbarton on Saturday.

“Last season we lost twice at Dumbarton,” the former Hearts and Hamilton player said. “It’s a tough place to go and the manager pointed that out through the week, it’s a different kind of game down there, it’s a battle more than anything.

“Last season we fell there but this season we have shown we are mentally strong and can grind these results out.”

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