Celtic’s exit from the Champions League at the second qualifying round stage was as disappointing as it was predictable.
Ange Postecoglou’s side were always up against it following a 1-1 draw in the first leg, and in truth did well to force Midtjylland to extra-time before slipping to a 3-2 aggregate loss.
But defeat on the night is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of Celtic’s problems, with the new manager forced to name an extremely inexperienced side of an average age of just 23.
Scottish Premiership
Helander header breaks deadlock as Rangers beat Celtic
29/08/2021 AT 13:13
Two new signings are Carl Starfelt and Kyogo Furuhashi are unavailable to play due to Covid quarantine restrictions, but Celtic need far more than those additions if they are to feel confident of a competitive 2021-22 campaign.
"I'm the person that's been put in charge and if we haven't got players in obviously I haven't done a good enough job of convincing people we need to bring people in,” manager Postecoglou said.
"I don't say that because I'm some kind of martyr, I just think that's my responsibility.”
Celtic endured a difficult season last time out, exiting the Champions League at the same qualification stage and failing to win any domestic titles, finishing 25 points behind Steven Gerrard’s impressive Scottish Premiership title winners Rangers.
And the Bhoys face the prospect of another season in their neighbours shadow, with Gerrard remaining in charge at Ibrox and Celtic weakened by the loss of centre-back Kristoffer Ajer to the Premier League and captain Scott Brown to Aberdeen.
"I've been trying to be as forceful as I can about what we need to bring in and the challenges we've had are well chronicled," Postecoglou said.
"Again maybe I wasn't clear enough - I don't know. I think I've been pretty consistent in saying that. We need more players in. The club's working hard to get those players in.
"Our supporters just want to see us bring the reinforcements in we need and I just need to keep reinforcing my views on it as strongly as I possibly can."
Former Celtic forwards Chris Sutton and John Hartson reacted to the Champions League loss with sympathy for the manager.
But both told Premier Sports that Celtic could have a tough season in store.
“Celtic are in a massive transition,” Hartson said.
The captain has gone and they have lost a load of key players. It's going to take two years to get back on track.
And Sutton added: "There's no doubt it was embarrassing for Celtic to go out of the Champions League at this stage.
“I think we all know the reasons for it. The manager has been dealt an awful hand."
Celtic open their league campaign away at Hearts on Saturday, before heading into Europa League qualifying against Jablonec next week.
The first Old Firm match of the season is scheduled for 29 August.
Champions League
Celtic pegged back by FC Midtjylland in UCL qualifier
20/07/2021 AT 20:55
Scottish Premiership
Lennon, 14 players out due to coronavirus - but Celtic play tonight
11/01/2021 AT 13:53