Celtic, Lamentable in Leipzig

Frankly, this was a disgrace. Only to an extent can we blame injuries and religious scruples for having such a poor team on the field tonight. The fact was that the team simply failed to come up to the mark.

There is no point in saying how good Leipzig were. They weren’t all that good against the other two teams, and in any case, we simply have to be better. And it was all so predictable. We seem to have been watching this kind of stuff from Celtic away from home in Europe for decades!

Joe Hart and Josip Juranovic fail to stop Leipzig’s French midfielder Christopher Nkunku (R) from scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League Group F match RB Leipzig v Celtic FC in Leipzig, on October 5, 2022. (Photo by RONNY HARTMANN/AFP via Getty Images)

We were lucky to get off with 3-1. Both VAR goals I would have given, and although we missed a few chances, so did they, and on balance of play, the score should have been a lot more. At two points in the game, I felt we had a chance – once was a brief spell in the first half, and other was immediately after we scored. But the hopes were illusory.

We were soon back to the weak, inaccurate passing, the careless marking, balls going over the heads of defenders and the feckless football that makes me fear we will win nothing, even in Scotland. The good work and the creditable draw against Shakhtar Donetsk has now been squandered.

The central defence was a makeshift one. Agreed, but there were weakness at full back as well. The midfield missed Callum McGregor – that was a bad blow – and I fear that Callum’s replacement Oliver Abildgaard was quite simply out of his depth – but maybe I am too hard on him as it was only his second appearance. And there were others who were out of their depth as well.

The only players who were of the class that we would like were Jota and, in patches, Hatate, but I fear that Daizen Maeda has reached the limits of his ability. Kyogu was poor as well, and really had to take some of those half chances. O’Riley did not contribute nearly enough. And what on earth was Joe Hart thinking of?

Reo Hatate and Leipzig’s Austrian midfielder Xaver Schlager during the UEFA Champions League Group F f match RB Leipzig v Celtic FC in Leipzig, on October 5, 2022.  (Photo by RONNY HARTMANN/AFP via Getty Images)

I can only hope that the players are hurting as much as the supporters are. It was a shameful performance, and the feeling of disillusion among the supporters is tangible. An immediate bounce back against Leipzig at Parkhead next Tuesday is essential, otherwise our European credibility has gone for another season. But we have St Johnstone first, and that won’t be easy either.

So we have now reached the annual crisis point this season. There usually is one every autumn. Ange sorted it out last year. He will now have to do the same again this year, but the players must have the proverbial long hard look at themselves. It is simply not good enough to say that the opposition are better. We are Celtic, and we have to match them, at least.

On the credit side, the support deserve every commendation. They also deserve our admiration. It was a long way and a lot of money to see a pathetic display like that!

The strips were a little better than the grey rubbish – there was at least some green in them – but I await an explanation as to why we could not have worn the green and white hoops!

David Potter


About Author

I am Celtic author and historian and write for The Celtic Star. I live in Kirkcaldy and have followed Celtic all my life, having seen them first at Dundee in March 1958. I am a retired teacher and my other interests are cricket, drama and the poetry of Robert Burns.



    David, you are hurting, as am I, but FFS mate, the moments after such a defeat are not those in which we should give our opinion. Yes, we got pumped, and yes, we were below par in the 2nd half, but, you know the SMSM live for such posts from us. Keep yer powder dry until yer anger has subsided, lest we feed our enemies with quotable sound bites #HH

    • Gavin, you may have a point. But it was awful, and nothing like what we expect. We really have to bounce back on Tuesday.

  2. George Theodorou on

    Daezen Maeda will not play as well anywhere as he does on the left. Jota is a winger, not necessarily on the left. Haksabanovic can play on either wing. Abada is strictly on the right or in the middle when he cuts in. If I am off balance and you nudge me, I will fall over. Players need to own their positions if you want them to perform well. We are not as yet the Ajax of Cryuff and total football. Let the players play to their strengths.