By Dominic Toner
Football Insider analyses three talking points from Celtic’s 2-0 home defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League.
Scott Brown is more crucial then ever
Scott Brown was the standout performer in Celtic’s 2-0 defeat to Barcelona on Wednesday night.
The 31-year-old left everything on the pitch as he led a much improved Celtic side to a valiant effort against the European heavyweights.
The Bhoys could not avoid being eliminated from Europe, but manager Brendan Rodgers should be encouraged by the performance of Brown.
The club captain battled for everything in midfield and demonstrated his commitment to the side, with several strong tackles and composure in possession.
He is expected to lead his team for Scottish League Cup final against Aberdeen and will prove a nightmare if he matches the performance shown against Barcelona.
Celtic belong in the Champions League
People questioned whether Celtic belonged in Europe’s top club competition after their 7-0 hammering to Barcelona at the Camp Nou, but they responded perfectly to those claims on Wednesday.
Celtic were undone by a Lionel Messi brace against the favourites for the Champions League and gave a good account of themselves.
The Scottish champions also demonstrated in the 3-3 draw against Manchester City that they can compete with the top sides in Europe.
The Bhoys had their chances against Barcelona and were just lacking composure in front of goal, with Moussa Dembele wasting a free header in the penalty box.
Celtic have been eliminated from Europe and cannot overtake Borussia Monchengladbach for a Europa League spot in their last game, who have a greater head-to-head record.
Rodgers’ side proved against Barcelona that they are competitive at the top level and will surely bounce back next season.
Celtic face nervous wait over Scott Sinclair
Celtic will be anxious to hear whether Scott Sinclair will be available on Sunday for the cup final after he was substituted off at half-time, with a suspected hamstring problem.
The 27-year-old attacker looked lively during the first-half against Barcelona and showed his positivity with a number of bright dribbles.
He has been a crucial part of the club’s strong domestic start this season and is regarded as one of the first names in the starting line-up.
Sinclair has scored 10 goals in 22 appearances this season and will be a huge miss if he faces a spell on the sidelines through injury.
In other Celtic news, Joe Miller claims that the club’s player has the world at his feet.