Celtic were recently knockout of the Champions League final leg of qualifying matches, which sees the miss out on the group stages for yet another season. The 1-0 defeat at the hands of Swedish club Maribor meant that Celtic will be playing in the Europa league. This is a huge blow for new manager Ronny Deila, who will always be measured against his predecessor Neil Lennon. Lennon managed to take Celtic into the last 16 stage of the Champions League before being knocked out by Juventus. Even Lennon has been unable to match this achievement of a few years ago.
Deila’s managerial credibility as came under intense questioning even at the second round of the qualifying when Celtic were knocked out at the expense of Polish club Legia Warsaw. However, Celtic were reinstated back into the competition at the expense of Legia Warsaw, who were found to have fielded an ineligible player in the second leg of the 3-0 win. Deila says that Celtic fans may have to get used to the Europa league because the Scottish club are no longer a top club in European football. The lack of Champions League means that Celtic will struggle to attract players in a league that does not have much competition due to the absence of Rangers.
“We did not lose because of the defending, we lost because we did not create anything. We hope we can stand in the same position next year with a whole other feeling than I have right now. The first half was not good enough. In the second half we were more aggressive and had more chances. We need to have more tempo on the ball, more movement. That’s the job, it has to start now. In the end there’s only one thing to say – we have not been good enough, and we have not deserved to go to the Champions League,” said Deila.