Neil Lennon has offered an interesting theory on some of the difficulties Celtic face in Europe.
As a former Hoops manager and one of only two men to take us to the Champions League last 16, he is pretty well placed to comment on our European situation.
Lennon has managed us to huge continental results — including wins over Barcelona and Lazio — and also suffered some dire defeats.
Ahead of Celtic‘s fresh campaign starting on Tuesday against Feyenoord, Lennon has volunteered a few points that are sure to get people talking.
“Part of the problem is Celtic are always going flat out in the Premiership and the domestic cups,” he told the Scottish Sun.
“Teams like Sevilla know they won’t win La Liga, so they rest key players in the league and prioritise the Euro competitions. That’s why they’ve been able to win the UEFA Cup and Europa League seven times.
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“Real Madrid have been European champions a record 14 times, but they’ve only won the Spanish title four times in the last 15 years because it’s not as important to them.
“A lot of clubs will sacrifice their league positions for European runs, but Celtic can’t afford to do that.”
The comments from Lennon are certainly interesting. While some clubs in Europe may place a greater emphasis on European success than domestic endeavors, it seems a little simplistic to put that down as the sole reason for progress.
Celtic have had an incredible period of recent domestic dominance that no Hoops supporter would be likely to trade for anything. Yet, one disappointment has been our European form in recent years. Our record of not having won a post-Christmas knockout tie since 2004 looks worse with every passing campaign.
Plenty of title-winning sides around Europe have managed to attain good results in recent times, while not seeing their domestic results suffer. For that, see the likes of Red Star Belgrade, Red Bull Salzburg and Shakhtar Donetsk.
Even our rivals across the city have managed a couple of big European runs in recent years, despite us continually beating them to domestic trophies.
Let’s hope this season is the one where it starts to change on the continent. We’re feeling hopeful.
In other news, multiple bits of good news for Celtic concerning Reo Hatate