PERHAPS it is the fact he is unburdened by memories of years of disappointment following Celtic around the continent, but while most of the travelling party were satisfied with the team’s performance and the point they gained in Rennes on Thursday night, there was no disguising the disappointment etched on the face of Christopher Jullien.

The big defender was a standout performer as Celtic were untroubled for the most part against a Stade Rennais side that is currently sitting second in Ligue 1, so it was something of a surprise to see his hangdog expression in the bowels of Roazhon Park after the match.

His frustration though was that Celtic could have left France with even more to show from what was still a very good night’s work.

“Was it a big result? Not so much, to be honest,” Jullien said. “We showed our stuff, we played well at times, but we perhaps didn’t have as many shots at goal as we would have liked.

“But I thought we played pretty well and limited them to just one or two chances. Even in the final few minutes they were pushing but they did not create many chances.

“It was a little bit of a sad feeling not to get the three points. It’s hard to take. It perhaps shows how far we have come we are disappointed not to have won the match.

“It was a good performance though, so we took the point and we’ll look forward to the next one [at home to Cluj]. It’s going to be a big game.

“[Rennes] didn’t surprise me with the way they played. I knew after we scored the penalty they would come on stronger and they did.

“I can’t pretend we always thought we would manage a large win. But sometimes if you can’t win you make sure you don’t lose, and we managed to do that.”

Despite the defeat to Cluj at Celtic Park last month that saw Neil Lennon’s side skittled out of the Champions League qualifiers, most neutral observers would have the home side pegged as favourites when the Romanians come calling again in the next Group E fixture in October.

Then again, most would have fancied Italian giants Lazio to leave Romania with three points on Thursday night before they were humbled by two goals to one, so Jullien isn’t taking anything for granted despite Celtic’s improved form since the last meeting between the sides.

“The group will be very even, for sure,” he said. “Cluj showed in our stadium they are a good team and they can be ruthless. The next game will be a good battle.

“We are a good team and we want to do well in this competition. We have qualities and I think we have shown that since we lost the Cluj game.

“We have shown a good mentality and this first game was a start for us in the Europa League.”

Jullien’s manager had predicted that playing back in France again would give his French contingent an edge against Stade Rennais, and in the case of Jullien, he was proved right.

The centre-half took great satisfaction in his own performance as he played in front of a crowd in his homeland for the first time since his big-money move from Toulouse in the summer.

“It was really special to come back and play in France,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect but it was a pleasure to play in front of my family again.”