Celtic’s last week’s Scottish League Cup triumph was their fourth title win under Brendan Rodgers, the former Liverpool boss, who is still unbeaten in all domestic competitions since his introduction as the Hoops gaffer last summer.
The Bhoys clinched a domestic ‘treble’ (Scottish Premiership, Scottish League Cup, and Scottish Cup) during previous campaign and are favourites to replicate the same this term as well. Having already won the League Cup title defeating Motherwell at Hampden Park, Celtic’s next objective will be defending the Scottish Cup title as well as claiming their seventh Premiership crown on the trot. They are already leading the race against closest competitors Aberdeen and age-old rivals Rangers FC, but their domestic domination doesn’t mean a thing in the European context.
It might sound harsh, but they are miles off top European counterparts and the disastrous defeats against the likes of Paris St. Germain, Bayern Munich, Barcelona reflect how mediocre the Scottish champions are compared to their Champions League opponents. Celtic have conceded 17 goals in 5 UCL outings and registered their only win against Belgian outfit Anderlecht. Rodgers might have transformed the Bhoys into ‘invincibles’, but their supremacy starts as well as ends in Scotland itself.
Long gone those good old days when Celtic were a supreme European powerhouse and their ‘Old Firm Derby’ against Glasgow rivals Rangers FC was the most discussed event across the globe. They have gifted the world of football a plethora of distinguished superstars – the likes of Jinky Johnstone, Kenny Dalglish, Danny McGrain, Henrik Larsson are still adored and celebrated worldwide for their heroics and legacy. A historic club with a great footballing background, however, are currently a shadow of their past and nowhere close to becoming a European force once again in coming days.
There are certain constraints that have hindered them from attaining greater glory. Although appointing Brendan Rodgers has been an ambitious move, the Northern Irishman, too, has his limitations here at his new venture.
Money talks in modern day football and despite Rodgers’ reputation of nurturing youthful prodigies and transforming them into potential world-beaters, he has a budget restriction that is not allowing him to lure in as well as retain top talents despite identifying them ahead of many top European outfits. Celtic have introduced the likes of Virgil Van Dijk, Victor Wanyama, and Fraser Forster in recent years who are now top-notch Premier League stars whereas the likes of Mark Viduka, Stilian Petrov, and Paolo Di Canio are still regarded as Premier League legends.
Meanwhile, their current team mostly comprises a few Premier League rejects and some Scottish stars who have failed to make their nation qualify for Euro or the prestigious World Cup competition. Ireland, Northern Ireland, and even Wales have leapfrogged into a better position in football map and the darkness over Scottish football is looming large considering their current status.
Celtic have a few promising starlets like Moussa Dembele, Kieran Tierney, and Patrick Roberts, however, the latter is currently on loan from Premier League leaders Manchester City whereas Dembele and Tierney are already being monitored by European big guns thus not expected to stay in Glasgow for long.
Rangers’ defeat against Luxembourg minnows FC Progrès Niederkorn in Europa League 1st Qualifying round fixture further exposes the current mediocrity of once highly-acclaimed football league and Celtic’s first title of the campaign, unfortunately, is a sign of massive disappointment for Scottish football.