CALLUM McGregor admitted Celtic went to pieces in the face of Valencia’s ferocious pressing last night – but insisted that getting the opening goal in the return leg in a week’s time will cause the Spaniards to retreat into their shells. Away goals either side of half time from Denis Cheryshev and Roberto Sobrino rounded off a ruthless performance from the La Liga outfit in Glasgow which left Celtic’s Europa League hopes hanging by a thread, but the midfielder feels that Brendan Rodgers’ side have what it takes to go to the formidable surroundings of the Mestalla Stadium and record what, given the circumstances, McGregor feels would be up there with anything the club has achieved since the Northern Irishman’s arrival.

“It was a disappointing night for us,” said McGregor. “The first 15 minutes we started the game well, showed what we were all about then we made one or two sloppy passes in the game and went into our shells a little bit. Against the good, good teams you get punished with those mistakes. They are right up there with some of the best teams I have played against. They are really defensively organised, they almost give you comfort in the game and then one sloppy pass and then you are done on the counter.

"I think our confidence did go a bit. You could see it in the last 20-25 minutes, we weren’t getting through them as much as we would have wanted and defensively they were solid. But it is important that we learn from that tonight, and then when we go out there try to start well in the game, and if we can nick a goal that changes the tie completely. It kind of reverses it. We have seen 2-0 scorelines so many times when teams think they have comfort, they lose a goal and the whole thing falls apart. That is the mindset we need to take next week.”

McGregor insisted there would be no deviating from the club’s strategy of passing out from the back, even though the Spaniards exploited that ruthlessly. “That’s what the manager believes in and how he wants us to play,” said McGregor. “We’ve had success playing this way, look at the likes of Liepzig coming here.

“We have shown at a higher level we can do it. I think it’s natural for fans to be a bit of edge when they see risky passes from the back or across the back four. But we have shown in the last two and a half years we are getting better at it. We just need to take it to the top level because the fans enjoy seeing it domestically.”

“The Mestalla is one of the most iconic stadiums in Europe. I watched a lot of Spanish football growing up and there are obviously massive stadiums. I’ve done the Nou Camp and this will be another to tick off the list. It will be good to go out there and see what it’s all about. But we are not going out there just to see the place. We are going to try to turn the tie around and see where it takes us.

“It will be a tough task but we have picked up our away performances in Europe and found a way to nick points. We have to draw on that experience and try to be positive. It will definitely be about pride. They would have been expecting a tough game and we probably only showed it in that first 15 minutes. We probably owe it to ourselves and our fans to give a good account of ourselves out there.”

Emilio Izaguirre agreed that the wounds were self-inflicted but insisted the tie was far from over. “We gave them the chances. We lost the ball for their goals. We need to be more positive for the whole 90 minutes and not give them anything. Can we still go through? In football you never know what will happen. We are always positive, Celtic always try to win an in Valencia I still think this can happen.”