Celtic: Champions League exit is down to lack of spending & familiar flaws

Media playback is not supported on this device

Next four weeks are critical for Celtic - Bonner

Out of the Champions League. Dissent between the manager and the board. And a player who is reportedly refusing to play. A little bit of the sheen has worn off Brendan Rodgers' Celtic in the past week.

Defeat by AEK Athens in the third qualifying round of the Champions League and a Scottish Premiership loss at Hearts would have been bad enough on their own, but an undercurrent of unrest at the failure to secure transfer targets and defender Dedryck Boyata's reported refusal to travel to Greece has amplified the discord.

But what has gone wrong in this past week? And what will happen now? Here's what former Celtic goalkeeper and BBC Scotland pundit Pat Bonner thinks...

'Rodgers needs support'

Celtic now have to back Brendan Rodgers. They have been knocked out of the Champions League and they need to get rid of all this speculation.

He'll be at Celtic for the next year, at least - but they need to beat either Latvia's Spartaks Jurmala or Suduva Marijampole of Lithuania and get into the Europa League group stage.

The problem is, I can't see them investing now. They're not going to buy two or three players at this stage of the season.

They should have got John McGinn from Hibs. That was an easy bit of business to be done in the summer, but they weren't able to pull that one off and now suddenly, they're out of the Champions League.

And they have to deal with the Boyata situation - and they have got to deal with it quickly.

'Defensively, Celtic weren't good enough'

Boyata was missed in Athens. Celtic just weren't good enough at the back and they lost two really poor goals.

Take Mikael Lustig for the first. It's a one-v-one situation and his job is to stop crosses. It was the full-back Niklas Hult who was taking him on - not a tricky winger - but he dropped the shoulder, got to the byeline, and Lustig couldn't get close enough.

You compare that to the AEK defenders. Every time James Forrest got the ball, Hult was on top of him. On the other side, Michalis Bakakis was on top of Callum McGregor or Kieran Tierney. They weren't allowing easy crosses to come in.

Then, when the ball came in, Rodrigo Galo stroked the ball into the net and just walked away and celebrated. The Celtic players weren't to be seen anywhere. He should at least have had to be picking himself up off the ground.

Then the second goal, my word. It was a big long, loopy ball into the box. Vassilis Lambropoulos got a free header to knock it into the path of Marko Livaja. But there was no reaction from the Celtic players and that's why they lost the game.

'I don't blame Hendry, but where is Compper?'

For me, Celtic are so unbalanced because they don't have a left-sided centre-back. In the modern game, you would expect most players to be two-footed, but Jack Hendry has been pushed over to that side and it's not natural for him. He can't open up his shoulder and play.

I feel sorry for him. He has to develop, he has to be given the time and somebody has to come into that centre-back position and help these young guys.

Jozo Simunovic is the one that should be coming in alongside Hendry and helping him and that's not happening. Some of the passes he made were shocking.

And then there's Marvin Compper. I saw him last week after the first leg. He was running up and down the pitch at Celtic Park and looked as if he wasn't up to speed. This guy was bought in January to strengthen at the back and he's played one game. That's quite incredible for me.

OK, maybe the injury was picked up when he came in and it may be an injury that is going to keep him out. But how can you be out for so long with those type of injuries? Did he have that history before he came in?

Somebody's got to come out and explain to us because he came in for decent money and he hasn't contributed in any way to this group.

Top Stories