We’re yet to find out whether Celtic will have their biggest regret this season. If Aberdeen can beat them in the Scottish Cup final, it would deny the Parkhead team an unbeaten domestic campaign as well as a treble. That said, every club has regrets and Celtic are no different. Here are two points they may look back on at the end of the season:
Their European Form
Celtic are desperate to be seen as a genuine force in Europe, but it simply isn’t happening. Their Champions League group form (bearing in mind they have better prep than most teams due to their lack of competition domestically) was horrible.
They almost didn’t make it into the group stages at all. Losing at Gibaraltar’s Lincoln Red Imps was embarrassing, before a 2-0 defeat in Israel in the next round against Hapoel Be’er Sheva almost wiped out their first leg lead and made them sweat.
Once Celtic did make it, they had a tough start at Barcelona. Yes, many good teams go to the Camp Nou and get beaten, but this could have been any score Barca wanted. It finished 7-0, but could easily have been 9, 10 or 11 had there been a need for it. The famous front three of Messi, Suarez and Neymar toyed with the Celtic back line and completely humiliated them.
Draws against Manchester City and Monchengladbach were about as good as it got really and in truth, they never looked like belonging to Europe’s top table. It remains to be seen whether they’ll go into next season’s campaign stronger.
Selling Stefan Johansen
Stefan Johnsen had a two-year spell at Celtic Park during which he played an admirable 116 games. That’s quite a fitness and form record and he managed 19 goals from midfield during that time too, including in European games.
Somehow, Celtic managed to sell him to Fulham for pretty much what they paid for him and why they did that is a mystery to many. He has gone on to score 13 goals in 40 games at Championship/English cup level this term and you can probably add something to that figure when wondering what he would have done in the Scottish Premiership.
Celtic may well lose Stuart Armstrong this summer and without Johansen at the club, he’ll be a huge loss. A new player may or may not come in, but that player will not immediately be up to the same level as either Armstrong or Johansen and so Celtic could be weakened. Stefan Johansen was only 25 when Celtic sold him and it is hard to understand why they sold him.