Celtic find comfort despite Camp Nou exit

Eliminated Celtic FC are rueful, wiser and rooting for FC Barcelona to win the UEFA Champions League according to their Dutch striker Jan Venegoor of Hesselink.

Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink (right) challenges Barcelona's Carles Puyol
Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink (right) challenges Barcelona's Carles Puyol ©Getty Images

The Scottish champions needed to score at least twice at Camp Nou and attempted to pack the midfield and play on the break, but the tactic was a mixed success as their campaign ended with a 1-0 defeat. But as Venegoor of Hesselink's countryman Frank Rijkaard confirmed, Celtic were in the ascendancy as the game developed so the forward was far from despondent by the time he left Camp Nou after the 4-2 aggregate first knockout round defeat.

"If you want the simple summary then we had a bad first half and a good second half and now we want Barça to go on and win the tournament," Venegoor of Hesselink said. "Last season we were knocked out at this stage by the eventual winners in AC Milan and it would be pleasing to see this team go on and replicate that. They are a genuinely good football team and this was a big occasion for us. It's my opinion that it will probably have done us a lot of good in that there are a few talented young boys in this side who will have drawn things from the atmosphere, the stadium and the entire process of pitting ourselves against Barcelona."

Venegoor of Hesselink includes himself in the list of those who will improve and give more back to Celtic's next European campaign after two exciting fixtures. "While I've pinpointed the younger lads I must say that even at 29 years old I know that I'm still learning at this level and I'll take things away from these two games. Only by the time we are back in Europe and ready to apply the lessons will we see how useful this process has been but I'm sorry we are out without being downhearted about the two matches."