Chris Sutton has warned Brendan Rodgers that he must adapt his approach to the way Celtic play in Europe or face more Valencia nights.
In December RB Salzburg handed out a lesson as they outclassed Celtic with Valencia doing likewise on Thursday evening.
Under Rodgers Celtic have enjoyed some great European performances. The home matches against Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig spring to mind, while in his first season the away draws at Borussia Monchengladbach and Manchester City gave grounds for optimism.
Domestically Rodgers has turned Celtic into a ruthless trophy collecting machine but in Europe Sutton believes that they have become predictable an inflexible.
In the Daily Record he explains:
“There’s nothing wrong with principles and trying to teach players to do the right things.
“However, for a manager, there must surely come a point when you realise that might be asking people to do things they just can’t. If you keep doing that, you’re in the wrong, not the ones who can’t do it.
“Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley was at Parkhead, so here’s one. I know the way to hit certain golf shots the same way as Rory McIlroy does and also know the only way I could regularly compete with him at the top level is by doing it the way he does.
“But if I practice and practice and I can’t do it because I’m not good enough, I’m not going to keep reaching for something I can’t grab. I’ll try to find another way so I can hit a better shot than him now and again.
“Rodgers wants Celtic to play from the back, do it the right way. I admire that to a point, but not beyond the point where it’s been shown time and again the team can’t do it against the better sides in Europe.
“Eventually, Celtic give it away under pressure. The touch goes, the passes start going out of the park.
“You’re just inviting trouble and offering the opposition a comfortable way into the game. Valencia wasn’t the first time. It’s happened loads of times. It even happened domestically at Ibrox and Rodgers surely has to take responsibility.”
Next week’s return leg in Valencia looks to be a formality with face saving the order of the day – most fans know that winning at Kilmarnock is of more importance.
Europe will always be the benchmark for assessing Celtic teams. Rodgers has turned the club around domestically but a level of pragmatism and sophistication is needed on the continent.