If the accepted definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results then it is perhaps not a surprise that Brendan Rodgers is already planning on tackling next season’s Champions League with a fresh approach, should Celtic make it back there.

Alistair Johnston, though, believes maintaining some sort of continuity could also be key to future success. Many of the Celtic squad, including the Canadian himself, are featuring in Europe’s elite club competition for the first time, an experience that has been enlightening and invigorating but also at times chastening after five group matches without a win.

It is little surprise that Rodgers feels the need to complement this callow group with wiser heads but Johnston also hopes that those riding the Champions League merry-go-round for the first time will also get another chance to prove themselves next season.

Celtic lost Jota, Carl Starfelt and Aaron Mooy from the squad that competed at this level last year and Johnston believes retaining the core of the current group will be vital for Celtic to continue to progress against the continent’s best.

“Experience gets thrown around a lot [as the missing factor] and I think it does come down to that a bit,” acknowledged the full-back. “There have been certain moments going toe to toe with teams, Atletico Madrid at home was an obvious one. You’re in a really good spell, the crowd is behind you and we just needed something to get us over the line.

“We just need to find a way whether it’s a tactical foul or someone putting their foot on the ball to slow things down. We have just missed that a little bit in certain moments.

“That comes with playing in those big games. Every year we’ve been in it the squad keeps getting refreshed and it feels like, okay, we should have more experience than last year.

“But you look at the squad and a lot are playing in their first campaign, myself included. So, it’s always difficult in that aspect to have that much experience on the pitch when we have such a young squad.

“Hopefully if we have that continuity in the squad next season then guys have that feeling and confidence going into matches that we can play and go toe to toe with these teams.

“We’re better prepared to do that in the future due to what we’ve experienced. But it’s frustrating because you want it now. You want to get those results this year. It’s just not been the case.

“Having a bit of continuity definitely doesn’t hurt. Especially as a defender, I’ve feel that when you have a set back four it definitely helps in terms of knowing who you are playing with, knowing their tendencies and being able to read off each other. 

“So you are able to keep a group together, it definitely helps. But at the same time the manager has said that he wants to add quality and I think we are all open to that as well.”

Johnston knows there will always be a massive financial gap between Scotland’s representatives in the Champions League and the clubs they will face from Europe’s top leagues. But he believes Celtic can still do better in the aspects that don’t cost money.

“There’s always going to be that gap, levels financially,” he added. “We understand that. When you watch back the matches and you’re on the pitch you can see why those guys earn the money they do. Some of the moments of quality you almost clap your hands and say, ‘fair play’.

“At the same time, it doesn’t stop us from being more intense and doing what we can do to the best of our ability. You take the last one away to Lazio, it kind of felt like we lacked a little bit of intensity. 

“That’s the kind of stuff that doesn’t matter how technical or how good a player you are. That’s simply workrate and desire. If we don’t have that, we’re not going to give ourselves a puncher’s chance in the first place. So I think that’s probably the biggest frustration for us as a group.”