HERE’S a Celtic team from a not so random game to make you wonder whether the club’s supporters will ever see their likes again.

Marshall, McNamara, Valgaeren, Balde, Varga, Agathe, Lennon, Miller, Petrov, Larsson, Pearson with the substitute bench housing Douglas, Sylla, Lambert, Wallace, Mjallby, Beattie, Smith.

From that era there is no Chris Sutton, Alan Thompson or John Hartson, three players who easily fit into club legend category, who were out of that match through injury and suspension. A crocked Shaun Maloney was unavailable as well.

Read more: Neil Lennon: Celtic can go all the way to the Europa League final this season - if they can beat Zenit

A promising young defender by the name of John Kennedy just had his knee, and it later transpired career, ripped apart, while that season an even younger player called Aiden McGeady scored on his debut.

I’ve been watching Celtic for all sort of reasons since January 1979 which was my first ever live match my dad took me to – a 3-0 win over Morton – and that team/squad is the best I have seen wearing green and white hoops.

This was the 2003/04 season. Celtic won a double and reached what was then the UEFA Cup quarter-finals when the team mentioned above lost a second leg 2-0 in Villarreal having drawn the first game 1-1.

The Spanish were a hell of a team back then and Martin O’Neill’s side, as good as they were, had problems on the road when it came to Europe. The defeat, while a sore one a year on from reaching the final itself, was not entirely unexpected.

And, yet, had Sutton, who won the SPFA Player of the Year, not picked up an injury in the days leading up to the game, it just might have been a different story.

Shall we have a bit of fun?

Let’s take the Celtic team of today, the one that could reach the last 16 of the Europa League on Thursday if they do the business in Russia against Zenit St Petersburg and, lest we forget, may conceivably win back-to-back trebles.

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So, which O’Neill players would make it into the Rodgers’s team?

This is hardly an exact science, but I'd have eight from 14 years ago. I would replace Joos Valgaeren with Kieran Tierney, Scott Brown would be in before the late Liam Miller and, personally, I think Stephen Pearson’s place would be in jeopardy because when fit and in form there are a few of the current team who could play in that midfield.

For argument sake let’s say I’m right – which of course I am – and I would go further and suggest that if O’Neill had all his players available for that game in Spain, then only Tierney and Brown could hope for a start.

This was the last Celtic team to reach a European quarter-final. They were the last to win a knock-out game. And this was a time when the financial disparity in European football, compared to Scotland, was nowhere close to being as vast as it is now.

Since Larsson’s farewell season, Celtic have gotten poorer, in relative terms, when just about everyone else has grown richer. Seriously richer.

On Thursday night, Celtic face Zenit St Petersburg who on the evidence of last week are not brilliant, but this expensively put-together team, managed by Roberto Mancini who knows what he’s doing, are going to be better. That’s a guarantee.

I have it as a 50/50 tie. Should Celtic get through it would be a remarkable achievement.

Read more: Neil Lennon: Celtic can be beaten to the Scottish title - but only if they defeat Zenit

If, to quote the manager, Celtic have no right to be in the Champions League, then they are hardly due a VIP pass to the latter stages of Europe’s second football competition.

The winners of the past six years are Manchester United, Sevilla three times, Chelsea and Atletico Madrid. Although as we all know, the English Premier League and La Liga are a joke, so these clubs are small fry!

This is a club which should be winning it all at home, although an unbeaten season was remarkable, but tangible European success is always against them.

The Champions League group stages weren’t great but, people, please let’s have some perspective.

PSG and Bayern Munich operate on another planet. Just getting there, past three qualifying rounds after a break of two weeks, was not easy, and Celtic were the only pot four team to finish third in their group.

Henrik Larsson never even played a knock-out game in the Champions League and if it was beyond him, what chance mere mortals.

Under Gordon Strachan and Neil Lennon, the club three times made the last 16 of the Champions League, a feat which these days is next to impossible simply because UEFA in their infinite awfulness are making it increasingly difficult for clubs from Scotland to even get the chance to compete with the big names.

The season after my first ever Celtic match, the club met Real Madrid in the European Cup quarter-final. That is not going to happen again.

What can happen, however, is the Scottish champions having a sniff of the last eight of European competition with a team which isn’t as good as the one which last got there when it was easier to do so.

It would almost equal anything Rodgers has done up here.