CELTIC brought back unwelcome memories of Partizan Belgrade as they somehow managed to lose 4-3 against Cluj at Parkhead tonight.
With £10million of summer signings on the bench – both defenders Jullien and Bolingoli apparently not trusted to start – and with Callum McGregor at left back with echoes of Ibrox at the end of last year – all the concerns we have been expressing as a support over the past few months came and booted us right where it hurts the most.
Last season’s first pick defence – Gordon in goal, Lustig at right back, Tierney on the left and Boyata and Benkovic in the centre seemed a distant memory as tonight the team from Dracula’s homeland brought back haunting memories of Partizan Belgrade from the late 1980s.
Scott Bain has questions to answer now and surely should be replaced by Craig Gordon.
Ajer and Simunovic were all over the place and perhaps only Elhamed had a half decent game. Tactically Celtic were all over the place.
The first half was a complete disgrace as apart from a Mikey Johnston effort that almost found the top corner, they created nothing and the visitors went in at the break well worth their one goal advantage – a goal incidentally that was similar to that costly strike AEK Athens scores at Celtic Park last August.
Neil Lennon obviously had plenty to say at the interval and Celtic responded. James Forrest showed great composure to take his time before slotting in the equaliser and Cluj were rattled as the noise levels inside Paradise went through the roof.
Odsonne Edouard, outstanding again ( enjoy him while you can) gave Celtic the lead shortly afterwards but where was the savvy? Where was Nir Bitton? Why not bring on the summer signings?
Bain failed to grab a cross ball and conceded a corner, Scott Brown needlessly, recklessly, in a moment of utter madness, stretched out his arm and touched the ball. The penalty was the correct decision and although poorly taken still got past the hapless Scott Bain.
But back Celtic came and when Edouard set up Ryan Christie moments later to put Celtic ahead in the match and the tie. Why the defence wasn’t shored up Is a complete mystery to me. BRING BITTON ON fell on deaf ears.
Another error allowed a speculative shot that Bain palmed to their striker who smashed into the roof of the net. Horrible defending and poor goalkeeping.,
Lewis Morgan got on and in utter desperation Bayo was even thrown on as was Leigh Griffiths.
The referee added six minutes and there were one or two promising moments before Cluj got themselves up the park and their night was completed with another gift from Celtic – 4-3 it finished.
Celtic are our of the Champions League at the same stage as last season and the blame game is about to begin.
We sold Moussa Dembele after crashing out to AEK Athens and sign Mulumbu who was a free agent. That £20million was never re-invested in the team nor was the £9million we got from Leicester City.
Kieran Tierney’s £25million will shore up the lost Champions League money. Tonight was an accident waiting to happen and it is now time for us to have a full and frank debate on how our club is being run from top to bottom.
On the evidence of AEK Athens under Rodgers and Cluj under Lennon, Celtic cannot be regarded as a Champions League side. We need change.
Man of the Match – Odsonne Edouard