Celtic’s Champions League Campaign Ends With A Bittersweet Symphony

Image for Celtic’s Champions League Campaign Ends With A Bittersweet Symphony

Celtic’s failure to pick up one single home Champions League match point leaves a somewhat bittersweet taste in my mouth.

Our objective this season was to qualify for the Group Stages and then parachute into the Europa League. To me, it’s a bit of an anti-climax and an expensive one at that. Tickets for the Champions League ranged from £114 to £150 (non-Season Ticket Holders).

Whilst there’s no guarantee of a win in any tie, surely Celtic should be taking at least one point at home to Anderlecht. Not much to ask after thrashing them 3-0 in their own midden.

I wrote in a previous piece that Celtic would be happy to take the £30m from the Champions League pot of gold and make their way into the Europa League. h
Should we have any modicum of ambition then some of the aforementioned funds need to be released to Rodgers.

We are crying out for a decent, injury-free centre-half and dare I say it – a keeper. Gordon has been colossal at times but also found wanting in the Champions League. His distribution drives me nuts. His early save last night kept my finger nails intact. Whilst Anderlecht was the better side first half, they didn’t really offer much threat up front.

I thought Rodgers got it tactically wrong in the 1st half but fair play he had the balls to make two changes. Much needed changes. Sinclair, despite being Celtic’s top marksman on thirteen goals this season looks off the boil. Games are taking a toll on him by the looks of it and he’s short in confidence when going at players – he done that for fun in the last campaign.

Last night’s inept performance to me is a culmination of different factors. Firstly, our magnificent 67 unbeaten run may well become a monkey on our back. The press in Scotland together with all other clubs want this dominance to end. Celtic and its fans don’t. There’s absolute added pressure here as records are being beaten every week. The players must be taking this on board surely? There’s no way on earth they don’t discuss it.

And since when do we celebrate home draws against St. Johnstone, Hibernian and Kilmarnock? Celebrations were perfectly natural in Motherwell last midweek but there’s a sense of utter relief as the ref blows for time up every game now – with the exception of Saturday’s demolition of Motherwell. Rodgers made six changes and by Christ it worked.

Celtic is almost a victim of its own success. But it’s because of this success that will face 10 games in 30 days – nine of which are in December.

It’s absolutely crazy. It’s unfair on the players both physically and mentally.

If Celtic does continue the unbeaten run past December and into the break then they deserve absolute recognition for this – that’ll be two seasons on the bounce. Up to this point Celtic has played 31 competitive games – around 10 more than other teams in the league. That’s more than a quarter of a league season – think about that.

There will be players in the squad who are almost ever-present. By the time December ends, we will have played nigh on 40 games.

Undoubtedly, the ubiquitous quote “my nan could play in that League” will echo over the airwaves from Talksport’s Adrian Durham who is a known Rangers fan and agitating troll. I’m sure Nicholas and Walker will want to dismantle it among themselves in the Sky canteen.

Once this ream of fixtures is over, Celtic needs to take stock and evaluate which is more important.

Continuing an astounding run domestically and sweeping the board or driving forward in Europe? It’s a quandary that should get fans and the Board alike talking.

I think it’s a big ask to do both. What would or should we be aiming for in Europa? Last 16, quarters, semis? To gauge any improvement then the last 16 or the quarters would be a great marker but if we play like we did last night we can forget it.

More importantly – we certainly need the personnel for it and it’s over to the board to back Brendan. The window will soon be open for it.


Share this article