And Neil Lennon's vision will be fulfilled on Wednesday night when the Uefa Champions League, with its kudos, cash and unique frisson of anticipation, returns to the club for the first time in four years and it will be a familiar foe that lines up against Lennon's side. Last season's Champions League quarter-finalists, Benfica, provide the opposition, a team who have twice faced Celtic in the competition during the last decade.
And the portents are good. Managed by Gordon Strachan, Celtic last faced Benfica in the tournament in season 2006-07 and Lennon himself played an active part in helping the club qualify for the last 16. In addition, of the last 10 games Celtic have played at home against Portuguese opposition, they have won nine and drawn one.
Yet, for all Celtic will feel they have the measure of Benfica on their home turf, they will be expected to be stretched by their visitors. Benfica may have lost two of their best players this summer – Javi Garcia was sold for just under £16 million to Manchester City and Axel Witzel for £32m, necessary sales for the club to service its 400m (euros) debt – but they were also able to add to their squad.
Manager Jorge Jesus ignored calls to bring in a no-nonsense centre-half before the closure of the window, and instead signed striker Lima, the joint top-scorer last season in Portugal, from Braga. However, it is not Benfica's transfers that are giving Lennon headaches but rather his own. As Celtic's progression into the group stages was secured, the purse strings relaxed a little and he was able to splash some of the riches garnered from the tournament. Miku, Lassad Nouioui and Efe Ambrose were brought in, but they barely had time for introductions to their team-mates before they were out the door again for international duty.
Given the lack of time they have had then to bed themselves into the team, Lennon has a dilemma about whether he plays them against Benfica or sticks to the tried and tested. Certainly Ambrose and Nouioui are highly unlikely to be pitched in, but Miku could be in line for some level of involvement.
Lennon said: "Miku has a nice touch. A bit similar to Gary Hooper, but a little bit bigger and quicker although having said that Hooper isn't slow, he's very quick over five to 10 yards. He's looked brilliant in the last couple of weeks, Hooper, so the two of them hopefully will complement each other well. They have goals in them. And I quite like the look of Miku, his awareness of where people are and he's a strong player as well."
Group G has a daunting look about it, with Barcelona and Spartak Moscow making up the quartet, Like the national side, Celtic will find that any chance of competing seriously in the group will largely depend on getting off to a good start on their own turf.
A relatively open game can be anticipated if Benfica stick to their attacking principles. Having humbled Manchester United last season on their way to the quarter-finals, the Portuguese side will not be daunted at facing Celtic, no matter how intense the atmosphere is inside Celtic Park. With the likes of Pablo Aimar, whom Lennon also played against when Celtic faced Valencia under Martin O'Neill, as well as Oscar Cardozo and Lima, it is the menace Benfica possess going forward that could unnerve Celtic.
"Aimar is quality," said Lennon. "He's had peaks and troughs in his career, but I think he really came on the scene at Valencia and then went somewhere else for big money (Real Zaragoza 12m euros). He was only 21 when he played against us, but he was fabulous. Cardozo is also a real handful. I think he was the subject of a couple of big offers in the summer and Benfica did well to hold on to him."
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Fraser Forster hopes to use the Champions League stage as an audition for a place in the England squad. Europe's best can only aid his cause. "There is no point over-thinking the England stuff," he said "It would be nice if it happens. I would imagine they will come and watch if we are doing well in the Champions League. It's a good platform and if you are performing well on that, it's good for your CV and might make their decision harder."
If it does well enough, the thunder may make him difficult to ignore.
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