Tuesday evening turned out to be a disappointing night for Celtic as they were knocked out of the Champions League by the Romanian Champions CFR Cluj, losing 4-3 at Celtic Park, meaning the tie was lost 5-4 on aggregate.
The Hoops will now drop into the Europa League playoff round to face either Swedish Champions AIK or Sheriff from Moldova.
It was a topsy-turvy night at Celtic Park were emotions switched from delight to despair on numerous occasions and there are plenty of things to talk about in terms of things we learned.
Here are the four biggest things that we took from the game.
Questions where asked of Neil Lennon’s team selection before the game as he seemingly had chosen to play Callum McGregor at left back, a strategy which hasn’t worked before. Boli Bollingoli Mbombo had an impressive second half against Motherwell and the nod for this game would have helped his confidence, McGregor, on his day, is our most influential player and our best central midfielder, when he is in the middle of the park he makes us tick and is the heartbeat of the team, he has to stop being used as a utility man. Lennon got this one wrong.
It was a tough night for Scott Brown as he looked out his depth at times, finding it difficult to keep up with the pace of the game. His passing seemed negative throughout, forever going backwards and sideways. He also conceded the penalty which put Cluj in the driving seat. It’s not unreasonable to suggest that Brown shoul begin to step back and allow the midfield of Ntcham, McGregor and Christie to perform in games like this.
Is Scott Sinclair finished at Celtic?
The Englishman was excluded from Lennon’s squad last night and looks to be behind even Lewis Morgan in the pecking order. Sinclair is man with vast experience in these qualifiers and having him on the bench could have provided Lennon with another option in the second half hunt for a goal. Over the last three seasons he has guaranteed goals and whatever is happening with his future, Sinclair should have been part of the matchday squad.
The Celtic Board
The result against Cluj should be a wake up call for the board as the quest for nine in a row continues. It is obvious that Celtic need strengthening, The Bhoys have lost important players over the past year; Dembele for £20 million, Armstrong for £7 million. Furthermore, they also received £9 million for Brendan Rodgers from Leicester, and as of late, they aquired £25 million for Kieran Tierney. Very few of these have been replaced by quality players brought in by spending decent fees. This campaign and next year are two of the most important seasons in Celtics recent history and reinforcements are needed and if the board have the same aspirations of 10 in a row as the Celtic supporters have. Money will have to be spent to bring quality to the squad.