Davie Provan hits out at Peter Lawwell after Celtic's Europa League defeat

By David Walton

March 1, 2020

Celtic great Davie Provan has hit out at Peter Lawwell for the club’s transfer dealings after we bowed out of the Europa League on Thursday.

The Hoops qualified for the last-32 of the competition before Christmas. However, we didn’t strengthen to any real degree in January. Patryk Klimala and Ismaila Soro have come in, but neither have featured regularly, with Soro still to make his debut.

Arguably it came back to bite us as Copenhagen left Parkhead with a 4-2 aggregate success against Neil Lennon’s men.

Neil Lennon on the Celtic touchline vs Copenhagen (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

And Provan, speaking in his weekly Scottish Sun column, has hit out at the chief executive for the club’s relative inactivity two months ago.

“Despite the last two games against Rangers exposing Celtic’s weaknesses, it’s been steady as you go in the boardroom. With Rangers right on Celtic’s case going into the winter break, I’m guessing Lennon would’ve wanted an upgrade in players in the window.

“With the Tierney money burning a hole in his pocket, Lawwell could have delivered. Instead, it was the same old script with two youngsters signed from leagues in Poland and Israel.

“No harm to Patryk Klimala and Ismaila Soro, the 21-year-olds might eventually make Celts a fortune in the transfer market. But neither is what Lennon needs right now. For a club of Celtic’s stature, the real proving ground should be in Europe. This board has allowed the club to become an irrelevance in that arena.”

You can’t ignore the European results already obtained

You can see what Provan is trying to say. Yes, January left us with plenty of gripes after the club failed to strengthen at centre-back in particular. However, that’s not the reason we went out to Copenhagen.

You can apply Provan’s logic to any game you lose. If Celtic lost at Ibrox in March, would the fact we didn’t strengthen be the key reason? No, because we’ve already beaten Rangers twice this season including once in Govan.

Just like we’ve already beaten better sides than Copenhagen at Celtic Park. It’s safe to say that Rennes, Lazio, and Cluj were all probably of a higher quality than the Danes. If you doubt the latter, just look at their European results since the Celtic game.

Tom Rogic in action for Celtic against Copenhagen (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

We were facing a side who had failed to score over one goal in a European match since the Europa League began. This was nothing to do with bringing in new personnel.

If the manager picks the right team and formation against Copenhagen then we go through. Or at the very least, we have an extremely high chance of progression. That wasn’t the case on Thursday night, and here we are. You can blame Lawwell for plenty of things, but Lennon had the tools to get the job done.

Let’s also not forget that this Celtic side is still running away with things domestically. The league is close to being over whilst another Scottish Cup is there for the taking – particularly after Rangers went out yesterday. So there are still plenty of reasons to be cheerful.

Do you think Lawwell was partly to blame for Thursday night? Surely Lennon had the players to see off Copenhagen? Give us your verdict in the discussion forum below.