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No silver lining- Sutton doesn’t hold back with blunt Champions League assessment of Celtic’s failings

Chris Sutton appears to have taken Celtic’s Champions League failure to heart.

Despite taking just two points from last season’s return to elite level competition the former hoops striker saw enough positives in those performances to believe that the club was going forward.

When Ange Postecoglou left for Spurs it seemed like fate had dealt a kind hand with Brendan Rodgers available and prepared to return to the club that he had dramatically left in February 2019.

This time around there would be no Champions League qualifiers, the early season obstacle course had been deleted which allowed a degree of forward planning.

As the transfer window evolved things became concerning, Carl Starfelt joined Jota and Aaron Mooy on the way out as supporters waited and waited for a statement signing that Rodgers could bank on like Scott Sinclair first time around.

After signing up seven projects Nat Phillips and Paulo Bernardo arrived on loan in the final week of the window, to no-one’s surprise the hoops have flopped again on the big stage with Sutton feeling that the club is stuck in a rut.

In the Daily Record he didn’t hold back about as he reflected on 15 matches that have yielded just three points:

Celtic couldn’t win a game last season when they were better prepared. They haven’t won a game this season with less impressive preparation.

Now let’s get one thing straight. I’m not saying they should just give up. Just accept you are going to lose. You have to be able to land a few blows now and again and get some positive results to sprinkle around now and again.

But, in the longer term and over the course of a section, maybe Celtic just aren’t going to get there and be consistently successful. Maybe this is how it’s going to be going forward. Qualify, get the money and go straight back out again.

That’s very painful to say because I look at a team like FC Copenhagen going into the final match with a chance to qualify from a group which includes Bayern Munich and Manchester United.

But I can’t seriously look at the record of Celtic over the past 10 years in the competition, put my hand on my heart and say they can definitely emulate the Danes because, unless something radically changes, the evidence tells me I’d be talking rubbish.

It’s not just a quick fix, either. Celtic are weaker than last season and have regressed. The squad’s going to take a lot of work to reach a level needed to make a serious impact in the competition.

Mind you, at this point, any impact at all would be half decent. Like winning a game. But I watched events in Rome and felt they looked light on quality, light on physicality and light on belief.

Some of them also looked fearful as they toiled to get at a home team which, in truth, wasn’t much cop on the night. Hopefully, Celtic can get a victory over Feyenoord and instil some much-needed confidence as well as getting a 10-year home winless money off their backs.

On Sunday Sutton will be on duty for Sky Sports at St Johnstone as Rodgers tries to keep Celtic on course for the title and another place in the Champions League.

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