SOME truly dreadful defending left Brendan Rodgers agonising after another European exit following the 3-0 defeat against Zenit St Petersburg in Russia tonight.
The Hoops’ 1-0 advantage from the first leg in Glasgow last week was obliterated as early as the eighth minute when Roberto Mancini’s side levelled and an appalling piece of goalkeeping from Dorus de Vries presented them with the second before the half-hour mark.
Some atrocious lack of awareness from Mikael Lustig allowed the home side to claim a third and it was all over for the Parkhead men.
Scott Brown tried to inject enthusiasm into his team-mates and teenage defender Kristoffer Ajer tried manfully to stem the tide with Jozo Simunovic once again looking uncertain as his partner in central defence.
A clearly frustrated Rodgers said: “We weren’t aggressive enough and a little bit passive and the goals we gave away were really disappointing.
“It was that inconsistency over the course of our European campaign that’s disappointed most.
“I think the example of last week, we showed that when our concentration is at its best and we defend forward we can defend really, really well.
“We didn’t press the game and squeeze the space enough.
“It was a better second-half, but defensively we gave away three very poor goals.”
The Celtic boss added: “The first goal can happen, it’s a great ball in.
“The second goal is disappointing, we’ve got to engage that bit quicker to not allow the shot – we’re too static and waiting for it. The ball moves in the air and wrong-foots Dorus.
“But the third goal was really disappointing defending from our perspective. And really that left the tie very difficult for us.”
Branislav Ivanovic, Daler Kuzaev and Aleksandr Kokorin were the men who got the goals to kill off the Scottish champions’ Euro dreams for another season, buried under a rubble of blunders.