HYPERBOLE is now a million times worse than it used to be. And nowhere is that more apparent than in the world of football where even the most humdrum of matches are promoted as “the biggest and most important one - EVER!” lest anyone be considering not tuning in to watch two bang-average teams lump the ball up and down the park all day.

The risk, though, is that sometimes genuinely noteworthy events lose their prominence as a result of the weariness built up due to TV broadcasters crying wolf time and time again. And Celtic’s forthcoming Champions League play-off round tie comes into that category. On the surface, two matches against a side they defeated only a year ago does not seem one overly imbued with huge ladles of significance. But they are and for two reasons. Firstly, Celtic’s entire season will be defined by whether they return to the Champions League group stage or not. And, secondly, achieving that goal is only going to get more difficult for the Scottish champions further down the line. It is why they need to make this opportunity count.

There is a change of mindset about Celtic now, thanks largely to Brendan Rodgers and the alchemy he has produced with a group of players who had been under-performing prior to his arrival. He has earned the right to be trusted. Last year, Champions League progression was hoped for rather than expected. Having failed to make it through to the group stage in either of Ronny Deila’s two seasons, nobody knew for sure whether that was down to Celtic or the calibre of their opponents.

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Rodgers endured a few wobbles in qualifying – losing in Gibraltar and Israel and drawing in Kazakhstan – but was able to return Celtic to the stage they so desperately craved. In an instant, his appointment was already vindicated, regardless of what he did next.

Of course, what he then masterminded was so spectacular – an invincible treble – that a feeling of expectation has flourished that he will continue to oversee positive results, even in the European arena. And maybe he will. It should be remembered, however, that it was a struggle at times to get through those three qualifying rounds.

Against Astana last year they needed an injury-time penalty from Moussa Dembele to avoid the spectre of extra-time, while in the second leg of their play-off tie a third Hapoel Be’er-Sheva goal would have seen Celtic exit on the away goals rule. They deserve credit for prospering on both occasions but it demonstrates how fine the margins are against European sides just as ambitious and desperate to dine at the top table as Celtic .

The Parkhead side, then, need to try to give themselves as much of a cushion as they can at home to Astana this week. Granted, they must have thought a 5-2 home win against Be’er-Sheva at this stage last year would have been more than enough, only for the Israelis to demonstrate their strength in the return.

Celtic are a more dangerous and more developed unit after a year of Rodgers’ tutelage but setbacks still crop up from time to time. In the previous round they toiled against Rosenborg, failing to score at home and fortunate to keep a clean sheet. They did it the hard way by winning the return in Norway but won’t want to take that risk this time around.

Astana’s record at home is formidable. In 19 European ties, they have lost only twice. Sides of the calibre of Legia Warsaw, Olympiacos, Galatasaray, Atletico Madrid and Benfica have all since travelled to Kazakhstan and left without a victory. It is why Celtic winning at home this week is imperative.

Making the group stage this season becomes even more significant given the changes coming in from next season. The Scottish champions – almost certainly Celtic again – will need to begin their crusade from the first of four qualifying rounds, meaning an additional hurdle to be overcome even earlier in the summer. Should they make it through to the play-off round, there will be only four places on offer in the group stage this time, rather than the current five. Celtic will still fancy their chances of progressing but it definitely makes the task harder in future seasons. It is why it is so crucial they qualify this time around. And that is no exaggeration.