BRENDAN RODGERS admitted Celtic’s need to add quality to the squad is “glaring” following the late collapse against Lazio in Rome.
The Hoops conceded two goals in three minutes to substitute Ciro Immobile to to leave them with just one point from a possible 15 in Champions League Group E with next month’s game against Feyenoord now redundant.
Rodgers’ men will not compete in Europe after Christmas once again and it has been a tale of woe since the nine men went down 2-0 in Rotterdam in September.
FACE OF DEFEAT…Brendan Rodgers is determined to add quality to his squad after the latest Euro setback.
With Liel Abada, Daizen Maeda and Luis Palma sidelined through injury or suspension, the Irishman was forced to start with James Forrest and the inexperienced Yang Hyun-jun against the Italian outfit.
The rarely-seen Mikey Johnston came on for the veteran Scotland international just after the hour mark.
The latest embarrassment among Europe’s elite is certain to trigger movement in the January transfer window and Rodgers has been linked with £4million-rated left-sided Portuguese ace Tiago Araujo.
The one-time Benfica B team-mate of Filipe Jota and on-loan Paulo Bernardo, the 22-year-old wide man signed for Estoril at the start of the season.
The champions, urgently requiring reinforcements for the challenges that lie ahead on the domestic front as they pursue a twelfth title in 13 years and a Scottish Cup, WILL make a move for Araujo after the turn of the year, according to a report in the Daily Mail.
WANTED MAN…Portuguese winger Tiago Araujo has been linked with January move.
A grim-faced Rodgers said: “We want to bring in quality, especially at the top end of the field. So that’s hopefully something that we can hope to resolve in the next couple of windows.
“The players have gained more experience at this level and they have shown that they can compete in a lot of the games.
“We need to add quality. That’s the glaring thing that stands out within the squad. If we can have players available and add to that then we can go again and push forward.”
Rodgers added: “It’s important for us to be in this competition. People will look at it and say: ‘Well, you’ve only got one point and you struggle’. But it’s still important for us as a club to be there, to help players develop and grow and look to achieve.
“So, yes, we will learn from this for sure. The result was very disappointing.
“First half, we were too safe. Although we kept the ball, I feel we needed to go and press the game and we didn’t
END OF THE DREAM…Alistair Johnston can’t hide his disappointment in Rome.
“Second half, we were much better. We pressed the game and we managed the game well. We were in the ascendancy.
“Maybe the last 20 minutes, we were the team who maybe looked like we could go on and get the result. We gave away two poor goals.
“First one, we are in a great position where are working the ball up the pitch, we lose possession and never recovered our shape.
“They got a bit of luck with the deflection. So that was tough to take late on and, obviously, the second goal we need to be stronger and better.”