Zenit players have been chatty with the Russian media since returning to St Petersburg this week. To a man, they attributed their defeat at Celtic Park to a fitness deficit. But, do not fear, they will still go through as they are the better team.
Exactly what logic they use to convince themselves that a few days break in Rome will sufficiently improve their fitness to allow their general superior-ness to prevail is unclear. Footballers with a “We are better, so we will go through” attitude are short of an effective plan.
When in Rome, Zenit players did what others do – posted photos of them visiting the Colosseum on social media. There were no hard fitness sessions; they do not even seem to have sought intervention from a higher authority at St Peter’s. To put it mildly, if this was Celtic players in the days before and after huge European games, I would incandescent.
This team believe they only have to turn up tonight to progress in the competition. They may well have spent £150m on their squad, but they are no Bayern Munich. We taught them a lesson at Celtic Park that they appear not to have learned from.
You can do it again, Celtic.