3 things Celtic must learn from Champions League defeat in Rotterdam

Celtic fans were left frustrated after a Champions League opening day defeat away to Feyenoord in Rotterdam.

The loss was avoidable for a number of reasons, with the two main ones being the pair of red cards handed out to Scandinavian duo Gustaf Lagerbielke and Odin Thiago Holm in the space of five minutes.

Celtic were in the game up until that point, remaining competitive with just a long-range free-kick stunner from Feyenoord attacker Calvin Stengs separating the two sides. One quick counter-attack, a method that seemed to be working for Celtic, especially through Daizen Maeda’s electric pace, could have brought Celtic right back into the game.

However, there were a few problems with what was a predominantly encouraging display from Celtic and here are 3 things that went wrong on Tuesday evening at De Kuip.

Kyogo lacking service

Kyogo hasn’t had the greatest run of it so far in the Champions League. Celtic fans know the quality he possesses. He has done it on a consistent basis domestically in the big games such as cup finals and derby matches, as well as making an impression in the Europa League. Up until now, it could be argued that Kyogo has not transferred his quality on to the Champions League stage.

He was quiet again on Tuesday night, struggling to really get involved and impact the game. In fairness to the Japanese forward, much of this was due to a lack of service coming his way, both from the wide areas and from Reo Hatate. Despite Reo having plenty of opportunities to play Kyogo in behind the Dutch rearguard, he opted instead for a different pass or to take a shot from a difficult position.

Getting Kyogo more involved in future Champions League games, against Lazio at home in particular, will be key for any chance of Euro success for Celtic.

Hatate off the boil

Reo Hatate, another one of Celtic’s usual key performers, didn’t have his greatest game in Rotterdam. He lost possession on multiple occasions and in dangerous areas in what was an unusually slack performance from the 25-year-old.

As previously mentioned, that slackness wasn’t just in retaining the ball as his decision-making in the final third was poor, showing a selfishness that we don’t usually attribute to his game.

However, this can be attributed to a lack of match sharpness, with this being Hatate’s first start since recovering from an injury that kept him out of action for just over a month.


Inexperience cost us greatly

The two aforementioned red cards were ultimately the decisive moments in the game and it will need to act as a learning curve for Holm and Lagerbielke as opposed to a stick to beat them with.

Experience isn’t just something you can teach overnight, but words in the ear of some of Celtic’s less experienced players from the manager Brendan Rodgers and captain Callum McGregor will help improve the confidence and eradicate the nerves out of the players’ games.

The Champions League experience could come in the form of Nat Phillips at the back, but with injuries hampering his early stages at the club, he may not be at full fitness for the visit of Lazio to Celtic Park in two weeks time, meaning the less experienced Tomoki Iwata may be the partner to Liam Scales in central defence.

If this will be the case, the Celtic squad will need to galvanise in a similar fashion to the performance at Ibrox, an encounter where everyone to a man stood up and was counted for.


Leave a Reply