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‘BRENDAN MUST STRENGTHEN FOR EUROPE,’ CELTIC LEGEND

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DAVIE HAY reckons Brendan Rodgers will have to splash the cash in summer to build a Celtic team strong enough to make a sustained impact on Europe.

The Hoops legend was far from impressed with his old team’s capitulation in Russia that saw them exit the Europa League on a 3-1 aggregate.

Former player and manager Hay said: “I cannot help but suspect the time has come for a few blunt observations to be levelled at some of the players after the performance against Zenit St Petersburg.

“It is not that it was a one-off because we have seen these defensive frailties over and over from Celtic in Europe in recent seasons.

“And, while there is a fair argument to say the resources of Zenit far outstrip Celtic’s, you cannot shy away from just how poor the club were on the night.

“Having played so well in the first leg, Celtic showed an ability to not just compete with Zenit but to dominate and take the game to them. However, it just wasn’t there in the return leg.

“Part of that comes down to the fact they were always going to be better on home soil and always going to be better after another week and a competitive game. That has a bearing on it all, but it doesn’t detract from how limp Celtic were.

“There was an unease from the opening minutes and as that first goal went in you could sense the collapse coming. They just didn’t seem to have any spirit or courage.

“The honest answer when you are seeing that time and time again is that the players have got to be able to learn from it.

“And if they can’t then you need to be able to think about bringing in replacements.”

Hay, now a club ambassador, added: “It is fabulous that European football was secured after Christmas, but there still has to be a way of playing and competing, even when you are punching above your weight.

“I do wonder how much the performance will shape the thinking ahead of the summer transfer window.

“We will see what Marvin Compper brings once he gets into the team and Jack Hendry looks like a youngster with some potential.

“But with four qualification rounds to get through this summer to secure another invitation to the lucrative Champions League, then replacements looks necessary.

“No-one expects Celtic to go out and splash the kind of money that is bandied around south of the border, but being able to source players who can come in and make a genuine difference has to be paramount.”

 
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