'They simply cannot'; Michael Stewart delivers grim Celtic verdict after collapse vs AC Milan

By John McGinley

December 3, 2020

Tonight was never going to tell us much more about this Celtic side that we didn’t already know.

Neil Lennon and his team were on a hiding to nothing in many ways.

Perform well and they’d get little credit having been bounced out of the competition already. Lose heavily and it’d just pile pressure on the manager.

In the end, the result and performance were somewhere in between those two extremes.

It’s now probably going to be the underperforming players under the spotlight over the next two days rather than the Bhoys boss.

The defence is being heavily scrutinised, and rightly so. It’s dire. The goals we are conceding are awful. The amount of them is inconceivable.

For one BBC Sportsound pundit, Michael Stewart, that’s the ultimate flaw of this team.

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland tonight (19:50), he said: “They are in dire straits. At half-time they needed to get something from the game and what has happened is they’ve lost the second half 2-0.

“There’s nothing to feed into trying to create any positivity, it just reiterates how damaging this season is becoming for Celtic and Neil Lennon.

“They simply cannot defend.”

Yep, that about sums it up for me.

I’m not sure Stewart will be invited back on to Celtic TV given his criticism of the team and Lennon over the last few weeks, but he hasn’t really been inaccurate as far as I’m concerned.

You can’t really let the defence off the hook after all the goals we’ve conceded in recent weeks.

Celtic star Kristoffer Ajer / (Photo by Giuseppe Maffia/SNS Group via Getty Images)

If Celtic are to salvage anything from this season, it’s that unit that needs to improve most.

Lennon needs to find his unit first and foremost. There’s been far too much rotation in the backline throughout the season, some of it outwith of the manager’s control, some of it not.

It’s now looking likely that he is in the dugout for the foreseeable, so all we can hope for is rapid improvement.