Gordon Strachan gives Celtic blueprint for Champions League success as ex-boss revisits what served him well

He's a man that twice led Celtic into the Champions League last 16. So Gordon Strachan speaks with some authority on the subject.

Strachan achieved that feat in 2006/07 and again the following year, and it's an achievement that's only been repeated by Neil Lennon since. With the Hoops struggling on the European front in recent years, finishing bottom of their Champions League group two years in a row.

Their former boss is desperate to see them get back to the levels he had them at and as a result has told them to forget about playing pretty football and get pragmatic. He says it's all about making sue you stop the bigger clubs from playing and then taking your chance.

Strachan told “My mindset and the team’s mindset, was I just have to win. I’d love to play lovely football, but I just want to win. That’s it. And we made life extremely difficult for the teams we were playing. If I was playing against AC Milan or Man United, I spent a lot of time working on how we stop these guys playing.

"That was my main thought. I would like to play good football, but my mindset was just to make sure that we won games of football or didn’t get beat. And also I think you need one big result. It’s like Scotland with the Euros, they beat Spain (in qualifying).

“But in our time if you’d beat AC Milan, who were ‘the’ AC Milan at that time - the number one team - and you beat Man United, that’s three points you took away there. If you can get that, somehow get that, then you’ve got a good chance.

"You need that big one. You need that one big win against a big club, and I think that’s what Celtic have been searching for the last few years. They need that one big win, that three points against a big club.

“It’s a bonus three points, if you know what I mean. If you’re thinking you’re playing against Man United or AC Milan, but you get one point, that’s good. That keeps me in with a shout. I need to dig out a lot of results.

"But if you can get that three points, not only did it help you, but the team you’re playing against, Man United or whatever, have lost those three points and they’ve really got to dig out points against other people in your group as well.”