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Reaction to Celtic's miserable Champions League exit

Reaction to Celtic's miserable Champions League exit

14/08/2019 at 10:09Updated 14/08/2019 at 10:18

Celtic's sensational defeat over two legs to CFR Cluj means they will now play in the Europa League knockout stages. We look at the fall out from their night to forget.


Neil Lennon witnessed his side slip to a disappointing defeat to Cluj

Neil Lennon witnessed his side slip to a disappointing defeat to ClujGetty Images

Speaking after Cluj's 4-3 victory at Celtic Park (5-4 on aggregate), Neil Lennon conceded his team made too many mistakes.

"We had the lead and we've let it slip through our own decision making," Lennon told BBC Scotland.

"The goals we conceded are crazy. You've got to do the basics well - you've got to stop crosses, close people down, get your head on things - and it was almost as if we scored and wanted to switch off.

"We've only ourselves to blame. If you don't do the basics defensively well enough then at this level you get punished. We've let it go."

"We didn't compete in the first 45 minutes at all," Lennon added.

"The second half we really had a lot more urgency but the goals we conceded are crazy. We needed that two-goal cushion really.

"What surprised me was our approach to the game. We've worked hard to get where we are and we've basically thrown it away.

"Now we need to look at the Europa League, make sure we qualify first then take it from there."

Celtic defeat

Celtic defeatGetty Images

Lennon also said he saw the upset coming at half-time.

He said: “I said to them [my players], ‘Look, you are blowing it! You’re playing this game as if it’s a friendly. I don’t know if you are disrespecting the opponent but we’re so flat.

"'This is a Champions League qualifier and at this minute we’re going out of the competition. Is that what you want? You’ve not laid a glove on the opposition for 45 minutes and you are far better than that’.

“Then of course we come out for the second half and we have cleared off the line. Jozo [Simunovic] has a header saved and then we score.

"It's suicidal the goals we gave away tonight."


Ex-Chelsea and Sheffield Wednesday defender Daniel Petrescu - manager of Cluj - said Celtic "has problems".

“It’s a pity a team like Celtic won’t be in the group stages of the Champions League – it’s not fair on them," the Romanian said.

" When they conceded four goals at home they won’t be happy. The four goals shows we’re good, but also that Celtic has problems."

“It is just unbelievable for us to win through. It’s one of the best results of my career, for sure.”



Celtic will face either AIK Stockholm or Moldovan outfit FC Sheriff in the fourth round of Europa League qualifying. Celtic will host the first leg on August 21 with the return fixture a week later.