The Doc’s Prescription - European Focus now on “Hoops”

Celtic's Kris Commons and Aberdeen's Jamie Langfield (who spilled the formers shot for the goal) after during Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League match at Celtic Park, Glasgow. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday August 4, 2012. Photo credit should read: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Celtic's Kris Commons and Aberdeen's Jamie Langfield (who spilled the formers shot for the goal) after during Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League match at Celtic Park, Glasgow. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday August 4, 2012. Photo credit should read: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
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THIS season Celtic will, I believe, find themselves under a different type of pressure than they are normally associated with.

In the pressure cooker of Glasgow football only one thing counts and that is beating Rangers to the Scottish Premier League title.

And the icing on the cake centres of defeating the same opposition in the Old Firm derby games.

Parkhead boss, Neil Lennon, was more than aware of this when he agreed to take over the Celtic Park hotseat and after failing to deliver during his first year in charge, the former N. Ireland international did the business last season with the “Hoops” claiming the title.

However, the fact that the “Gers” imploded financially, means the jury is still out on the Lurgan man in terms of his managerial ability.

In some ways, Lennon was considered unlucky because even before Rangers problems came to light, he actually had Celtic playing really well and the looked like being favourites for the title in any event.

But this season all eyes will be on Celtic’s progress in Europe and the club’s supporters believe that Celtic will qualify for the Group Stages automatically.

To be fair, I felt the “Hoops” played well - particularly in the second half at Celtic Park - in their home tie against Helsinki but, in patches, the Fins appeared to be a decent side. While I fancy Celtic to progress with their 2-1 advantage, I think the away league in Sandanavia will be difficult.

The SPL has developed into a “side show” as supporters have already decided that the title race concerns just one horse. But it’s also worth noting that Celtic almost blew it - again - in their first league game eventually needing the assistance of a shocking blunder by the Aberdeen keeper to gift them their points last weekend with a 1-0 win.