Former Celtic striker and pundit Andy Walker has insisted that Australian boss Ange Postecoglou has been left ‘cruelly’ exposed in the wake of the Bhoys’ Champions League exit.
A 3-2 aggregate defeat against Danish side FC Midtjylland saw Celtic crash out of the qualifying rounds for the fourth consecutive season.
Neil Lennon’s successor followed a grim pattern of results that has seen AEK Athens, Cluj and Ferencvaros end Celtic’s aspirations at the highest level of European football in recent years.
Newly appointed Celtic captain Callum McGregor placed the Bhoys in the driving seat of the tie for a moment following a stunning volley from outside the box that curled sumptuously past Midtjylland ‘keeper Jonas Lossl.
Celtic’s young backline ensured that McGregor’s effort was a fleeting flash of hope however, with Australian Awer Mabil heading home merely a minute later.
“It’s a blow, but I think you’ll find a huge number of Celtic supporters who won’t be surprised. The lack of preparation for season-defining games has left the new manager cruelly exposed.
“Postecoglou highlighted last week that he wasn’t happy with the lack of transfer activity and I think when you go with so much inexperience in big games like Celtic have done in Glasgow and on this occasion, then it’s going to come back and hurt you.
“Midtjylland played a good game and had a stronger squad – they had more legs and they had more energy. Celtic were never in it in extra-time. In the end, I think they deserved it and you could see a goal coming.
“Sadly for Celtic supporters, they’ll have to settle with a qualifier for the Europa League.”
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Fans have every right to be discontent with the club following a fourth acrimonious exit in as many seasons.
However, Celtic are left focusing on what is front of them: making the best of the Europa League and getting off to a flying start in the Scottish Premiership.
All eyes will be on the recruitment department as the Bhoys look to stock up on fresh talent and show signs of an upturn on the pitch.