19 Oct Over and out
Outplayed, out-thought, out-sung and out of European football at the end of the year.
That is the sad truth from tonight’s reality check for Celtic against Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Maybe there was a false sense of hope and expectation after the incredible effort against Manchester City on match-day two of the Champions League, but on Wednesday night against the Germans, Brendan Rodgers’ side were beaten by a better team.
There’s no shame in losing to a technically better side, but maybe Brendan will feel the two mistakes in his back-line made it easier for the Bundesliga side to stick to their game plan.
In truth, all the energy and pace that Celtic showed against Manchester City was gone.
Borussia coach, Andre Schubert deserves great credit for doing his homework on how to beat Celtic in their own backyard.
It was the German side who worked hard off the ball, they kept possession, looked a threat and could have been in front on two occasions in the first half, had it not been for Craig Gordon.
That first half performance flattened the Celtic support and allowed the travelling fans the chance to win the Eurovision song contest off the field before their team set about winning the contest on the pitch in the second half.
The Bundesliga outfit got their just reward just before the hour mark when Toure got caught trying to let the ball roll out of play, Borussia kept it alive and Stindl dispatched the ball into the net.
More calamitous defending from Toure allowed Hahn to race clear and make it 2-0 to kill the game off, thirteen minutes from time.
Celtic’s passing was poor, Biton slowed the midfield down, Dembele never got a sniff of goal throughout and James Forrest spent most of the game chasing the Borussia full back Oscar Wendt. Scott Sinclair squandered Celtic’s best chance, but apart from that, I can’t recall the Borussia keeper making a save!
Brendan Rodgers will have learned more from this defeat than the previous two games in Group C and I believe he will be well aware that there are still three or four players in that Celtic line-up that are simply not good enough to take him to the next level, which is still only pot three in Europe.
Celtic will not go to Germany and win, they will lose at home to Barcelona and Manchester will merely offer their fans a chance to finish off their European adventure with a party down south.
It’s not a scathing criticism, it is merely an observation of where Brendan Rodgers knows his Celtic side are at the moment and a measure of the job he has to try and move them forward.
Full marks to Borussia Mönchengladbach, it was a lesson in passing, technical ability and finishing, all delivered with four of their best players out injured.