For the third successive season, Celtic will not be competing in the Champions League, which must come as a bitter blow to all those concerned and as Neil Lennon said himself post-game: “I’ll have to carry the can, and take the responsibility for it.”
Indeed the blame should fall at the feet of the Hoops boss as in the absence of injured talisman Odsonne Edouard, he selected Olivier Ntcham to play upfront and dropped the attacking Jeremie Frimpong in favour of central defender Hatem Abd Elhamed.
A couple of baffling selection decisions have proven quite costly indeed.
They’ll now enter the Europa League’s third-round qualifying stage but don’t raise your hopes of going through in that either after the defeat to Ferencvaros on Wednesday night.
Lennon had summer arrival Alban Ajeti as well as Patryk Klimala on the bench, so it’s rather odd that neither started upfront.
But the problem in their attack could fall out wide. The Bhoys only really have Mohamed Elyounoussi and James Forrest as out-and-out options in the role – and the former is yet to impress after a one-year extension to his loan spell from Southampton.
So maybe it’s time Lennon unleashed one of his most promising youngsters, Karamoko Dembele.
He might only be 17, but the likes of Frimpong, Kristoffer Ajer and Kieran Tierney have all made a serious impact at Parkhead early in their careers.
Lennon himself has described the diminutive 5 foot 3 winger as a “real talent” and also claimed that he’s “the type of player that you want at Celtic. He gets the crowd off their feet with his football intelligence.”
Such praise has even stretched to legendary midfielder Ruud Gullit, who believes Dembele “looks pretty special” and “is exceptionally good.”
After four senior appearances already, the Celtic Park chief should call upon the young sensation a little more from the bench and then perhaps, he’ll show exactly why he should be featuring more often.
AND in other news, Celtic consider La Liga man as Edouard replacement…