I’m not going to say I saw this coming, I didn’t see defeat, but when I wrote a couple of days ago that you and I have seen a lot more games like Celtic’s away to Lincoln Red Imps than Brendan Rodgers, and about European football in July, I knew this one was never going to play out in a triumphant manner.
On the first day he was appointed I asked one of you to compile Brendan an Efe highlights video – I assume we were all busy. God love Efe, he’s a fine man by all accounts, but he’s three years into a slump which is not going to end at Celtic. Brendan must now be aware. It’s no longer Efe’s fault if he costs us again.
I also made the point previewing this game that we can’t expect a squad comprising only one addition to last season’s group to perform remarkably different in qualification than a year ago. In this sense, Celtic performed as expected, this one had all the hallmarks of our recent Icelandic ventures.
The manager may not be embarrassed at the result (I suspect he might sound different privately) but many supporters are. Gibraltar has a population similar to Bellshill, but without the football heritage and support mechanism. Would defeat to Bellshill Athletic be embarrassing? You bet. Yesterday’s result was too.
We are woefully slow in build-up and have only one player in the squad who can create the 7 or 8 chances per game needed to get a result, and he’s 33 next month and currently injured.
We remain strong favourites to qualify for the next round but there is an enormous amount of work to be done in the next month. This is not a Champions League squad.