The league has always been the priority for a club chasing 10 titles in a row. That was emphasised by their 2-0 home defeat to Valencia. The Europa League latter stages are for others teams to worry about.
Celtic’s players can’t afford to feel sorry for themselves, especially at Rugby Park, a venue in which they have lost on their last two visits.
Ryan Christie is a natural optimist and he believes his team can shrug off any bad feelings from Thursday. They could be, after all, eight-in-a-row champions and triple Treble winners.
The midfielder said: “We absolutely want to make a big statement against Killie. We’re disappointed but the best thing we can do is win on Sunday to push us on in the league and give us a bit of momentum going into the second leg.
“Killie have played well at home but we’re more than confident going there.
“Before Thursday tonight and since the break, we’ve scored a lot of goals and not conceded any, so it’s back to the league and we need to continue that amazing form.
“We can’t get caught up on what happened against Valencia, we need to brush it aside and go again in the league.
“It’s been a hard place to go, and not just for us. We’re desperate to win it, though, not just for the sake of the league but also to bounce back from the loss to Valencia. It’s always nice after a disappointment like that to have a game so quickly because all you want to do is get back out there and turn your momentum around.”
Until the powers that be declare a rule change that every pitch must be grass, the arguments over artificial pitches is going to rage on.
Nothing will change. Players at clubs with plastic will toe the party line. Everyone else hates it. Indeed, every Celtic player voted in the PFA Scotland poll to get rid of the hated 4G.
Christie said: “Ask any player and they’ll say they prefer grass to astroturf, but at the same time it’s been in the league for a few years and we’re all used to it.
“We know at the start of every season we’ll have to play a few games on astroturf and you have to get used to it and change your game accordingly. I don’t think it’s going something to get caught up on.
“It depends on a lot of things, If it’s wet it can actually help, it speeds the game up. It’s more if it’s a dry sunny day that it gets a bit sticky and slows the game down. But it’s the same for both sides, it’s not just us. Kilmarnock try to use it to their advantage as the home team and we have to overcome that.
“I certainly played a lot on astroturf through my youth – at that age it’s not really spoken about. It’s better for communities to use it. It’s just a big talking point just now but it’s out of my hands, it’s for the powers above to sort it.”