Celtic have a chance to put things right in Slovenia next week, but is this team up to the task of taking us through to the Champions League proper?
I have my reservations.
I believe the squad as a whole are able to get a result over the two legs with Maribor but I also believe the team will continue to struggle with the way Ronny Deila wants them to play.
People say Neil Lennon got an extra 10% out these average players but I don’t think that’s necessarily true. I think he just knew their strengths and weaknesses and one of their biggest flaws is playing a constant passing game. Something Deila is insistent upon as he looks to make positive changes. We all want to see the type of fluent football our new manager keeps talking about but can these players really adapt to that and even if they can, what are the odds they will have it mastered by Wednesday?
This leaves me very nervous for the two ties ahead. Before this Champions League reprieve, many were speculating that we would find it hard to beat an un-seeded Europa League side to get to the group stages of that competition. Maribor are not to be underestimated, they are the Champions of their country and they will smell blood with Celtic. A team that couldn’t live with the champions of Poland.
Maribor had a scout at the St Johnstone game and at half time he must have been rubbing his hands. Second half we dug deep but were given a gift by the St Johnstone to set us on our way.
Scoring is still a massive issue for our team and unless we sign a striker to come in as our wild card pick before next week then it will be an up hill battle.
This will sound negative to many but the possibility is there for Celtic to fall flat on their face again. Hopefully they have learned lessons from the 2 Legia games and are wiser for it.
When Virgil van Dijk was pressed about his future he said he wanted to play in the Champions League “so, we’ll see”. Well Virgil, you have to earn the right to play at that level and you haven’t done that yet sir. None of the players have.
Time to step up!