For Brendan Rodgers and Celtic, attention must now turn away from the memory of Wednesday’s overwhelming defeat at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain to Sunday afternoon’s League Cup Final against Motherwell at Hampden Park.
The Parkhead Boss was heartened by the return of Jozo Simunovic to the centre of defence in Paris in midweek – but Mikael Lustig is now an injury doubt for the final.
The two clubs have yet to meet during the current campaign but will face each other no fewer than three times in just seven days starting with the Hampden final before Premiership fixtures to come at Fir Park and Celtic Park.
Stephen Robinson’s Motherwell opened their new season back in July at the same venue where they will seek to secure their first major trophy in 26 years this weekend. That day saw a 5-1 first round win over Queen’s Park and, of course, they returned to the south-side of Glasgow last month to eliminate a Rangers side then under Pedro Caixinha in a semi-final shrouded in controversy.
Much attention will be focused on the approach and tactics that the Motherwell manager adopts for this one given the events of that semi-final and the furore that followed – with even Brendan Rodgers making his views known.
The Scottish League Cup was the first trophy won under Rodgers’ leadership – and there is no doubt that the manager will be fully focused on retaining the silverware but equally he will recognise that in Chris Cadden and Louis Moult, ‘Well have the ability to inflict damage on a Parkhead defence that was sliced open so easily in the Parc des Princes.
Celtic will enjoy the support of the vast majority of the Mount Florida audience but such numbers are of course no guarantee of success. Brendan Rodgers will be all too aware of that – and will be fully focused on the retention of the first cup he held aloft 12 months ago.