Agathe ‘100% certain’ Hoops will go through
has just completed his Uefa ‘A’ coaching badge and is looking for a return to the UK.
“You do not go through a season where you win the Treble and are unbeaten by anyone domestically and suddenly lose all confidence.
“People talk about fighting spirit and having the courage to go and get big results away from home, but that spirit comes from belief.
“It comes from knowing what you are capable of doing on the football pitch.
“That comes from the experience of having won games, of having grown together as a team. Celtic can call on that from last season.
“They have not lost their way because they didn’t turn it on for just one game – a game at the very beginning of their campaign.
“I am certain they will go through on Wednesday night. They are a team who can play with pressure.
“They can trust one another and they know for sure that they can trust their manager.
“When you put that together it makes you a very strong team.”
Agathe was part of Martin O’Neill’s Treblewinning side who then went on to take the club into the group stages of the Champions League for the first time.
It was the beginning of a significant European spell for the club with some iconic evening u under the floodlights at Celtic Park against Europe’s most prestigious names.
But while Agathe and his team-mates struggled away from home for form and points in the Champions League, in 2003 when they embarked on a Uefa Cup run after exiting the qualifying stages of the Champions League to Basel, they turned that on its head.
Like last week, they f found themselves written o off after a series of first leg draws at Celtic Park against Liverpool and Boavista, their fate made all the tougher by the concession of goals on h home soil.
Some of Agathe’s f favoured memories came on the road that term with the performance at Ewood Park springing to mind.
“The thing with Martin was that he would make you feel ten feet tall before you walked onto the pitch,” said Agathe.
“For a player like me who had come to Celtic without knowing much about the club, I knew the story of Celtic very quickly.
“He would tell us that we were special players playing for a special club.
“He would talk about people paying money to come and watch us, people wanting to see us playing football a certain way.
“He would tell us that we were able to give them that. He made you feel that you were the person to go out and do that.
“I think Brendan Rodgers might work a different way.
“Martin was a manager and Brendan I think is a coach who likes to get on to the training ground but what I think they both have in common in that they understand people.
“We are footballers but we are not robots. We are humans and we all have our own ways of responding to situations. Both of them know how to get the best out of the players they have.
“They know how to get them to respond.
“I remember that we had been written off so many times. Going to Blackburn we had a 1-0 lead, but everyone assumed that we would lose in England.
“But as a team we believed and that is where everything stems from.”
Rodgers and O’Neill have different styles