Fresh challenges ahead

I’ve had several days now to get over Tuesday night’s defeat. I also had to watch it at midnight on catchup having not seen it live.

For some people this result was on the cards. You never give up hope, but Celtic were outclassed by PSG.

The French side got into their stride from the get go. The Glasgwegian side made them wait until the 19th minute, but inevitably the goals came.

This was a team that lived up to the personnel they can afford to buy. A forward line to die for made the home side pay.

There may be easier teams out there in the Champions League but right now Celtic are one of those teams. At times there was some spirit, but the pace and accuracy in which PSG moved the ball left Celtic for dead throughout the match.

I don’t need to mention the PSG players. So I’ll focus on Celtic.

Finally, Brendan Rodgers deployed a makeshift defence that few would have argued with. Up until this match, most have disgareed with his selection of Bitton at the back.

So why wait until now to change it and not earlier? Was he conflicted at the last minute?

Anthony Ralston put in an admirable shift at right back and deserves plaudits – I like this guy. Mikael Lustig moved into right centre back where he has played often enough in his career but rarely under Brendan.

He was joined by Jozo Simunovic and Kiernan Tierney to form a back four that is the best Celtic have to offer right now. It wasn’t enough to snuff out the most expensive forward line in the world though.

Looking back at the goals you might criticise individuals, but this is what guys like Neymar, Mbappe and Cavani feed upon. It is their craft in the game and they are at the top.

We cannot have any complaints because we aren’t on the same level. That doesn’t take time, that takes money.

Money that will never be in Scotland or even at Celtic. When you face a team of such stature there is generally only one conclusion.

Going back to Celtic’s performance, I was impressed by Scott Brown’s tenacity. He never gave up.

Olivier Ntcham got himself involved more than Stuart Armstrong, but we wouldn’t see his effectiveness until the second half. By which time Celtic were already three goals down.

Scott Sinclair was our biggest outlet. Much of the time he was let down by his touches or the timely interception of PSG.

Paddy Roberts had a good one but tired due to lack of match fitness. Leigh Griffiths was out in the cold because of the lack of link up play between midfield and attack.

Other than a poor result, we had a pitch invader and Neymar at his usual antics. I’m not sure who I hate more – the Brazilian diver who shame the game or these dickheads who shame our own club.

Celtic must move on from this though. It’s all about the Anderlecht games.

They won’t be pushovers. Nobody is a pushover for Celtic these days.

What Brendan Rodgers and his players must do though is be more effective. Take those chances and cut out the errors.

Some of the commentary talked about an ’embarrassing’ and ‘poor’ display. I think much of this was reactionary and filled with disappointment.

Yes, mistakes were made and it was hard to watch. Let’s not forget who Celtic were playing though eh?

Celtic were taught a lesson by a classy side for the second season in a row. Brendan has to take that on board and make the right approach for the next game.

I noticed some folk talking about spending more money but we have limitations. It’s only Brendan’s second season and we’ll see further improvements in the years ahead but right now it’s about making this team work.

The next three games are a good break from Tuesday’s disappointment and a time to prepare for Anderlecht. Today it is Ross County at home, Wednesday it’s Dundee away and then The Rangers next Saturday at Ibrox.

Let’s get back to the drawing board. Plenty of fresh challenges ahead.

Hail! Hail!

Stevie Mac

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