Celtic exited the Champions League last night at the third qualifying stage.
The Hoops suffered a 2-0 second leg defeat against Polish side Legia Warsaw at Murrayfield Stadium, which meant the Scottish champions lost the tie 6-1 on aggregate.
Celtic’s performance over the two legs could only be described as awful.
In both legs the Hoops Polish opposition produced far better displays than the SPL giants. Celtic boss Ronny Deila claimed the Hoops were beaten by the better side in the second leg.
The current Celtic team lacks true quality. Every time somebody impresses for the Hoops they end up moving to the Premier League, or some other higher standard of league. Every summer they seem to lose their best players.
This summer keeper Fraser Forster has been linked with a big money move to Premier League Southampton. Boss Deila has even admitted they may lose the England international in the near future, which is not exactly great news for Celtic fans.
There are not many others players in the Celtic squad who are deemed good enough to play in any of Europe’s top leagues. Attacking midfielder Kris Commons, formerly of Derby and Nottingham Forest has been linked with a move to Burnley, after scoring 27 SPL goals last season.
Young Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk has also been linked with a move away from Glasgow this summer. The problem for the Scottish champions is that if they receive a decent offer for their players then they sell and their team is consistently weakened.
Most fans and even former-players have voiced their concern at the way the club are virtually harvested for any remaining talent, which at the moment is limited.
Celtic lost boss Neil Lennon this summer. Lennon had been relatively successful at Celtic Park, guiding the Hoops to the knockout stages of the Champions League and a historic 2-1 win over the mighty Barcelona.
With the absence of arch-rivals Rangers from the top-flight Celtic were always going to win the SPL, so the Northern Irishman was going to be judged on the team’s performance in Europe, which under Lennon was decent considering the lack of money in the Scottish game.
Lennon was always fighting back the tide of losing players and working on a shoestring budget in Glasgow. This summer Lennon decided that it was time to call it day in Glasgow and maybe he knew he could no longer work under such restraints.
Celtic is the biggest club in the SPL, yet even the Hoops struggle to compete with clubs from other leagues. Even small to middling clubs in the Premier League have bigger resources than the Scottish champions.
For the Hoops to be expected to compete in the Champions League on an even keel against some clubs is unrealistic, although their performance against Legia should have been a lot better.
The Hoops will now suffer financially because they will not be in the Champions League group stages next season. Instead they will have to go into a Europa League qualifier instead.
The lack of money has lead to the appointment of current boss Ronny Deila, as the Norwegian was considered a cheap option this summer. He won the Norwegian title in 2013 with Stromsgodset. However he was not a household name to most fans.
With high-profile bosses linked with the job such as David Moyes, Malky Mackay and Roy Keane, I was very surprised that the Hoops board decided to appoint the Norwegian. No doubt his wage packet is smaller than a number of the candidates.
The Celtic board may have been impressed by the Norwegians football philosophy, but the deciding factor in his appointment was probably his low wage package.
One thing that seems like a certainly is that Deila will at least win an SPL title next season, if he lasts to the end of the season. It is hard to argue with the fact that SPL has become a one-horse race, after Celtic’s arch-rivals Rangers demise.
Nobody could offer Celtic competition in the SPL last season, as the Hoops won the title by 29 points and suffered just one league defeat all season. The uncompetitive nature of the league really will not help the Hoops in Europe, which is where their progress now has to be measured.
It is believed that Neil Lennon quit the club because he was told that the Hoops board were unwilling to invest in the team. For the Hoops that is major problem. Without major investment the team is never going to progress and they will continually lose their top players.
Celtic is a big football club, but they are in a league that they will dominate until Rangers return to the top-flight. The Hoops need investment to make any impact on future European competitions, if not then everybody at the club will have to settle for winning the SPL.
Where has it gone wrong for Celtic?