Matt O’Riley feels Celtic can make further strides in the Champions League with better game management.
Brendan Rodgers’ side produced a blistering first-half display against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday and deservedly led 2-1 at the interval.
Midfielder O’Riley was at the heart of the action with an excellent exchange of one-touch passes to set up Kyogo Furuhashi’s opener and Celtic attacked with pace and purpose throughout the opening 45 minutes.
They were pegged back eight minutes into the second half by Alvara Morata’s header and could not quite replicate the tempo of their attacking play, which Atletico boss Diego Simeone admitted his side had struggled to deal with in the opening period.
A 2-2 draw gave Celtic their first point of the Group E campaign and fuelled belief within the squad.
O’Riley said: “Lots of positives, a very good performance for the most part. We lost a bit of control at times, especially at the start of the second half, but overall it was a good performance and very good goals against a defensive team.
“We were a bit disappointed not to get three points but a point on the board is a step in the right direction, so I think there is a lot to look forward to.”
The Denmark Under-21 international felt they could have calmed the game down themselves after the break to deny Atletico a way back in.
“It’s not necessarily sustaining that level, it’s managing the game in different ways,” he said.
“There were times, especially at the start of the second half, where we could have managed it a lot better in terms of slowing the game down, pulling a few guys under the ball and just keeping the ball for a bit.
“I know, naturally, you are at home and the crowd wants you to play quickly all the time but there are times when you’ve just got to slow it down and I think that’s something we will get better at.”
Feyenoord’s win over Lazio sent them top of the group on six points and Celtic will need to take points from away games in Rome and the Spanish capital to keep their hopes of qualification alive before the Dutch champions visit Glasgow in December.
Captain Callum McGregor said: “That’s the challenge now. We’ve got our point on the board, we obviously need more to get out the group but this should give us the belief that, if you look after the ball and play together as 11, there’s no reason why you can’t go there and get something out the game.
“If we want to qualify then the next two games are vital.
“Now we have played the three teams, there’s nothing to suggest we can’t have a strong second half to the campaign.”