Celtic’s hopes of progressing to the Europa League knockout stages are looking very slim after a 2-0 humbling away to RB Leipzig.
The Hoops were up against it before a ball had even been kicked, with Scott Brown, Leigh Griffiths, James Forrest, Tom Rogic, Kristoffer Ajer, Youssouf Mulumbu and Filip Benkovic all missing either through injury or suspension.
The free-scoring Bundesliga outfit have netted 32 goals in their last 11 home games in all competitions – so, unsurprisingly, they made light work of the Scottish champions.
Brendan Rodgers must be growing exasperated after watching his side undone by defensive errors.
Matheus Cunha’s finish was far too easy and minutes later, they failed to clear their lines again, allowing Bruma to put the game to bed.
John Hartson had said before kick-off that given how many key players were missing, and due to the quality of the opposition, it was going to take something remarkable for Rodgers’ men to escape with even a point.
And in fact, they held their own in the opening exchanges. The difficulty was that once their resistance was broken, they looked utterly deflated.
Sutton lays into Celtic
It was the nature of the defeat that particularly irked Chris Sutton, who took to Twitter to voice his anger.
“I’m sorry changes or not there are ways to lose a game and that wasn’t one of them,” he tweeted.
“RB Leipzig 2-0 Celtic. Average age Celtic 24.4.. average age Leipzig 22.5.. 7 full internationals plus £21.5 million in transfer fees! The bar has been lowered if that’s acceptable.”
When one fan suggested he might be overreacting given the circumstances, he added:
Regardless of their enforced changes, it was indeed disappointing to see such a lacklustre performance. Little wonder then, that Celtic have never won away in 13 Europa League group games.
This isn’t the first time Rodgers has faced criticism this season – they remain six points off the top of the Scottish Premiership.
He’ll no doubt protest, however, that this was a noticeably under-strength XI, featuring the likes of Cristian Gamboa, Jozo Simunovic, Eboue Kouassi, Ryan Christie and Lewis Morgan.
They have a mountain to climb if they’re to get out of the group.
Do you agree with Sutton’s tweets? Have your say in the comments.