The recruitment strategy at Celtic has undoubtedly moved since Ange Postecoglou's departure from Glasgow last year with a more reserved look in Brendan Rodgers - they haven't been spectacular but found a winning formula. 

That's a massive benefit within itself but there's still an outcry with improvement required marked on the report card on the European front for the Scottish Premiership champions. The assignments don't come easier for the former Liverpool manager with a heavyweight in Atletico Madrid venturing over to Scotland. 

Lazio three weeks ago was a case of so far yet so near - if there was one black mark on Rodgers's previous tenure at Celtic then it was in Europe - they were ruthless domestically but ultimately came up short. 

The experienced boss will be hoping there's not a repeat again this time as the Bhoys faithful started singing his name again after a fine performance on Sunday afternoon beating Hearts 4-1. There was apprehension about the Northern Irishman's return to Parkhead after departing for Leicester City on bad terms. 

A humungous task this evening leaves Rodgers with prominent incentive against Atletico Madrid

He said: “You’re always disappointed when you lose any game, particularly at this level.

“When players are giving their best that’s all you can ask for, and the Lazio game was a real indication of the level that you’re at in the Champions League.

Getty: VisionHaus
Getty: Visionhaus

“We played very well in the game and performed well, yet there’s one moment at the end that costs you the points.

“It doesn’t stop you from being persistent and looking to fight and that’s what we expect here.

“The fans expect us to fight and run and to play quality football. That’s the style this team wants to play and we will continue to do that.

'The players will come in very motivated and we know the stadium will be on fire. It will be an amazing atmosphere for us to be involved in and I can’t wait for it.'

“Adversity is some of the best learning that you have. That pain was numbing at the end against Lazio because we didn’t feel we deserved that and the supporters were great for us on the evening.

“I’m not here to be taking condolences but I respect the level we’re at and it’s up to us to get more progress in our results to push forward.

“We do everything we can to create our own luck. We can be pleased with the performance level and that’s always the starting point as it gives you a greater chance to win games.'

“I think if we can perform well, we know the task against a fantastic team and one of the best in the world. But we don’t have to be the best in the world to win. We just have to play well and educate our pressure and ride our luck as well.

“Hopefully, everything combined with the supporters will make a great night and we will give everything to get the desired result.

“For me to come back here was to start again and have that hunger and ambition to win. And win in a style that the club and the supporters have been used to. That’s been great for me because I respond to that kind of challenge. And I’ve been relishing it from the very first day. Step by step we’re getting close to where we want to be.

“I will always believe we can get the results at this level, whether it’s this year or the following year or the following year. It’s something we have too strive towards.

“That’s something I’ll be relentless in trying to achieve. You can’t be accepting of that record but the level of competition is at a really high level. There have been opportunities. It has been close, but that is an indication of the level."

Getty: Ian Mc
Getty: Ian MacNicol
  • Making History

Celtic left-back Greg Taylor is well aware of the match back in 1974 between the sides that saw Atletico Madrid down to eight men and coming away with a vital 0-0 draw to pave their way into the European Cup final at the expense of the Scots. 

He played tonight's occasion down by saying: “I’ve no opinion to be fair (on them wearing the shirts),” he said. “We’ll just focus on us. But I’ve heard (about the 1974 clash). I’ve been made aware it was a right encounter. One of the Spanish journalists said that Atletico are wearing shirts to commemorate that game.

“I think it was quite an iconic game for the cards and the tackles, etc. Hopefully, it’s an iconic game tonight but not for those reasons – for a win for us.”

“They are a world-class team with world-class players and a world-class manager, so it is going to be a difficult game. We all know that.

“I played against Griezmann (in Scotland’s 4-1 friendly loss to France) and watched Morata when I was on the bench for Scotland. Two top players. Griezmann found pockets all over the pitch and was very difficult to pick up. He is a really clever player and we will need to watch him.

“Morata scored against us for Spain and his movement in and around the box and link-up play is right up there with all the best strikers. They are two difficult opponents but it’s not just those two, it’s the whole squad. Atletico have a lot of top players so we know it will be difficult.

“Having played against them, it will be useful in terms of seeing the type of positions these players take. And defensively, Atletico are a really strong team also with a lot of experience throughout.

“They have a lot of players who have won a lot of the major honours. So we know they will be difficult to beat and they will compete well but we want to do the same. We do our analysis with the coaches and the manager, to see what Atletico do over the piece. We are really well prepared and have a great team behind us.

“We’ve got to work as a unit to stop these players. To just go man-for-man against players of that quality is really difficult. We’ve got a structure and that doesn’t mean it has to be a defensive structure, it can be pressing from the front and that is what we will try to do. That’s the aim."