Former SPL Chief Roger Mitchell provides Celtic blueprint idea

By David Walton

August 15, 2019

Former SPL Chief Executive and Celtic fan Roger Mitchell believes the club should invest more in defensive coaching and game-management.

Celtic let the lead slip on three occasions during the tie against Cluj at Parkhead. A lack of real game-management was a real problem on the night, with Parkhead never at ease throughout the tie. It was even more mind-boggling considering we performed so well in Romania to nab a 1-1 draw.

Celtic are consistently losing out to poor Champions League qualifying teams (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

And it’s now led to a huge inquest from the support about how we improve when it comes to these Champions League ties. The list of teams who have now tossed us out of European competition over the years continues to get weaker and weaker.

But in a series of tweets focusing on Celtic’s lack of in-game maturity, Mitchell believes it’s time to halt signing players from abroad for two years and start bringing in better coaches.

Some good and bad points made

The idea of putting more investment into the coaching side is something the club could really do with taking a look at. There has certainly been a mentality weakness to Celtic in these Champions League qualifying ties – it’s undoubted – and it’s happening with several different squads of Celtic players too. Failing to beat Maribor, Legia, Athens, and Cluj at home proves that.

But it also can’t come at the cost of not signing players abroad for a two-year period. There is some terrific young talent all across Continental Europe. It would be absolutely crazy for Celtic to halt themselves from that and risk missing out on some fantastic prospects.

Neil Lennon must come up with a plan to restore our reputation in Europe (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

For example, imagine missing out on Kristoffer Ajer because we put a block on buying players from abroad for two years. It would be a crazy decision, and Celtic really should have the finances to continue carrying out both.

Also, the idea of having a “Celtic vision” of eight Scots sounds great in principle. But the fact is that there are better players abroad that can’t be ignored. Why sacrifice missing out on them because we want a vision that simply must have a bunch of Scottish players in the team?

Peter Lawwell hasn’t been exempt from criticism either (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

We already have a good handful of them as it is. The starting line-up against Cluj had six Scottish players in the starting XI. Two of them effectively cost us the tie too with Scott Brown and Scott Bain’s careless errors.

A keen look into the investment of game-management and defensive coaching is definitely something worth looking at. But it also can’t come at the expense of recruiting wisely from window-to-window.

It’ll be interesting to see how Neil Lennon learns from Tuesday night. But one thing’s for sure – he simply has to.