European football is Celtic’s biggest challenge. You have to be in it to win it.
We aren’t expected to win it of course. Though it is a stage that provides excitement for the fans and money for the club.
If you’re one the game’s giants or in a wealthy league, Europe isn’t really about the money. It’s the simply about the glory because your finances are probably what got you there with relative ease via your top tier league.
That’s the difference with Celtic because there’s more in it for us. Playing in Europe allows us to attract certain players who otherwise wouldn’t be remotely interested in playing in Scotland.
Except perhaps against our Glasgow rivals four times a season. Possibly even six times and even then, you’ve still got crap stadiums, poor crowds and abysmal weather to contend with.
So Europe is a huge sellimg point. Sometimes though, we don’t hold up our end of the bargain.
Let’s face it, we have a good squad. We’ve splashed out on a few new players too with possibly one or two more to come.
For the second round in a row, Celtic had home advantage in qualifying after beating KR Reykjavik. Ferencvaros came to Celtic Park and cut us open after 7 minutes.
I don’t think we underestimated the Hungarian champions. They came out of traps better than Celtic though.
That had us on the ropes until later in the first half when we began to get into our stride. Half time coming when it did was frustrating as we were exerting our authority at long last and on the brink of scoring.
Ferencvaros had a great tempo early on, but were unlikely to maintain it. As it was, Celtic were able to grab an equaliser early in the second half and further demonstrate their command.
That was until we capitulated with a mistake. Up until then, we were in control.
We lacked the penetration that a striker can either give you or that keeps a defence occupied. Many will ask why neither Klimala or Ajeti started the match.
We had a front three of Elyounoussi, Christie and Forrest. Christie got the goal, but he did not play a striker’s role.
Nobody did. They were on the bench.
It’s easy to criticise our setup in the wake of defeat. I’ve done the same even after winning if criticism is warranted.
What were we thinking though? What must Klimala been thinking?
Been here since January and surely in pole position to step in for Edouard. But no, confined to the bench.
What about all that preseason praise? As it was Lennon chose to bring on Ajeti ahead of him despite the fact he probably isn’t match fit.
Curious choices by Lennon. So much so he’ll still be getting slaughtered today.
I would question the attitude of some players last night. I thought McGregor was below average.
Jullien was full of mistakes and Taylor faded before the end of a game once more. Barkas had very little to do except pick the ball out of the net and should’ve done better at the second goal as well as Elhamed who was at fault.
Lennon threw his players under the bus after the match which if they failed at their job, fair enough. However, Lennon failed too and in a vital match.
A giant payday has been taken away once more. Ferencvaros will probably end up facing us in the Europa League if we even make that.
The wounds are raw today, but if Lennon believes there are wantaway players then get take them out of the team. Don’t deflect from your own bad choices Neil.
Take them like a man. Our season has suffered another early blow.