Newco scored from a free kick they won after 67 seconds, but even at that early stage, the pattern of the game was already evident. When the home team pressed, they pressed together, and Celtic were unable to pass through them.
Week after week, we bemoan playing against teams who refused to come out, then when given the opportunity, we cannot pick a pass through a press. It is clear the recruitment job for next season needs to replace Boyata, Benkovic (probably), Lustig (whether he actually goes or not) and Dembele, but the mix is not right in central midfield.
If yesterday was a Champions League qualifier, we would have the luxury of blaming whatever financial, recruitment advantage, or more competitive league our opponents had over us that enabled them to close us down so comfortably. The reality is we were mugged by an average team and if we go into the qualifiers with the same central mid, we can expect the same outcome as we experienced against AEK in August.
I am fond of all our central midfielders, including Olivier Ntcham, who for various reasons has not had a great season, but this is the most crucial area of the team and the one I am most concerned about.
Back in the 90s Celtic were world class at winning late in the season when it didn’t really matter. The Knicker Wetters should know that nothing that happened yesterday changes the fundamentals in Scottish football, which remain as they were. We have a big rebuild job to do, but we have the resources and appetite for the task.