Celtic living off past glories is nowhere near good enough

Celtic’s defeat in Madrid was typical of away European performances…

Celtic were badly beaten by Atletico Madrid on Tuesday evening as their hopes of securing football beyond Christmas were dealt a severe blow. The hosts cruised to a 6-0 victory against the ten men of Celtic but there was a familiar feeling to the game, with a gut-wrenching smell of failure surrounding that performance.

In European away games, there is a hope that we will go into the game and display our resistance and dig in for a result – this usually involves staying in a robust shape and not conceding early. Unfortunately, Griezmann is afforded ample space to get a shot away and the deflection takes it beyond Joe Hart.

MADRID, SPAIN – NOVEMBER 07: Joe Hart of Celtic reacts during the UEFA Champions League match between Atletico Madrid and Celtic FC at Civitas Metropolitano Stadium on November 07, 2023 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Once Atletico are one up, they are always going to be tough to break down. Their raison d’etre is to defend and pick teams off on the break.

Ivan Kruzliak didn’t make matters easier when he sent Daizen Maeda off for a coming together. The Japanese forward went for the ball against Hermoso, the defender got there first and booted the ball clear before contact. It was probably late from Maeda but in real time was fairly straightforward – it was a foul. What then happened was utterly bizarre.

Referee Ivan Kruzliak shows a red card to Daizen Maeda of Celtic during the UEFA Champions League match between Atletico Madrid and Celtic FC at Civitas Metropolitano Stadium on November 07, 2023 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

VAR instructed the referee, who was positioned to see the incident and decided to book Maeda, to look at the monitor, slow it down and take a still from the contact. It was the reactions from the Atletico players that pressured the referee and VAR to consider the red card; however, there was no such reaction when Greg Taylor and Kyogo were crunched warranting no intervention. There never is from Celtic players in recent years.

The theatrics from Madrid, just like Neymar in 2013 got Scott Brown sent off, forced the referee to ask his colleague behind the screen whether he’d missed anything. This is a feeling of Deja vu for fans as the social media channels following games are usually jammed with fans asking why the team do not adopt such streetwise tactics as their continental opponents.

Once Celtic went down to ten men, the game was always going to be out of reach. As it so often does, Celtic conceded on the stroke of half time and that compounded that the second half would be a case of keeping the score down, a task Celtic failed miserably in.

Diego Simeone’s side showed their quality but Celtic were sluggish to react for their opener, unlucky with VAR and naive thereafter. Celtic weren’t expected to take anything off Atletico but with one point after four games, Rodgers and his team needs to take six points from their remaining two games if they are to have any hope of progressing from the group.

There is also the undoubted fact that Celtic should have had a stronger squad available to the manager than was present in the Spanish capital. The club will always struggle to compete with the Top Five Leagues but there are still steps that can be taken to improve the quality rather than an endless supply of project signings walking through the door.

Rodgers said that he would be coming back to Celtic to make an impact in European football. How is that going Brendan? The Irishman said that he and the club were aligned in their ambitions. Pity that the support’s ambitions aren’t being factored in.

After one transfer window, it was always going to be difficult for Celtic to get the quality of the squad improved, injuries haven’t helped, but the January window will be telling as to whether the club are ever going to be interested in making progress in European football.

The end of November takes Celtic to Roma for the Lazio game before the group concludes at home to Feyenoord. Celtic need to take six points, not just for any chance of progressing, but also to show the supporters that we can compete at this level.

UEFA is fond of calling Celtic an historic club but living off past glories is nowhere near good enough.

READ THIS…Atletico Madrid 6-0 Celtic – At least we didn’t embarrass the Hoops

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About Author

Born just as Celtic were stopping the Ten, Lubo98 follows Celtic home and away and helps run his local Celtic Supporters Club. He goes to all the games and is a Law Graduate. Has a particular fondness for Tom Rogic among the current Celts and both Lubo and Henrik form his earliest Celtic memories.

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