24 Aug Back the manager with hard cash.
Lucky, lucky Celtic.
It is the only way to sum up a shambolic performance by Celtic in Israel against a mediocre Hapoel Be’er Sheva on Tuesday night.
The reason Celtic are through to the Champions League group stage is down to manager Brendan Rodgers and his ability to change from Plan A to B and then in desperation to plan C.
The flat back five was the last resort to try and shore up a hapless defence and a blundering goalkeeper.
As ever, Celtic were rolling the dice to gamble on making the group stages of the Champions League with the minimum spend, but boy did they cut it fine.
Only Kolo Toure and Scott Sinclair started as new faces this season, the rest were all inherited from Ronny Deila.
This team would have been in the Europa League tomorrow had Deila been in charge, but luckily the new man has started to add a bit of resilience, but even Rodgers conceded there is a long way to go.
Celtic couldn’t make a five yard pass, couldn’t hold on to the ball and were being tortured down both flanks. If Brendan Rodgers thought it was the longest and most stressful he’s ever faced as coach, think how Saidy Janko must feel? Hapoel exposed his weaknesses again and again.
As for Craig Gordon? I have been a big fan of the former Hearts and Sunderland goalkeeper but for me he was culpable in both goals.
Scott Brown is beaten in the air in the middle of his own box from a corner. Why he is commanding that area is beyond me, but with a free header from 12 yards, I expected the Celtic keeper to make a better effort at saving Hapoel’s attempt on goal. 1-0 after 21 minutes looked ominous.
Three minutes into the second half, the roof almost caved in. A dangerous ball into the box gathered in by Gordon but somehow Janko runs into his own goalkeeper to allow the ball to fall to Ovidiu Hoban for a simple tap in. It was farcical! Craig Gordon should have smashed Janko into row Z and still held on to the ball.
At this point, it looked as if the inevitable was about to happen, but thankfully for Celtic, their opponents ran out of ideas once Brendan had switched to a back five to try and bolt the back door.
In the end Celtic hung on and made it into Thursday’s draw for the Champions League group stage by the skin of their teeth, but money must now be spent to avoid them being embarrassed among Europe’s elite.
Celtic need a full back, a no10 who can pass, run forward and chip in with goals and another striker, minimum.
If the manager is not given sufficient funds from the £30m plus that Celtic are about to rake in, there is something seriously wrong in the boardroom.
The fans are playing their part in shelling out for every game not on the season book. It is time to repay their faith.
Brendan Rodgers is not fooled by what he has at his disposal and he is consistently highlighting there is a long way to go in his plan.
It is time for the board to show him the money.