Leipzig defeat shows Celtic's mentality in Europe is shocking

By David Walton

October 25, 2018

Red Bull 2-0 Celtic was the final score in Leipzig tonight, and for many Hoops fans the scoreline only tells part of the story.

The rest of the story certainly isn’t positive. That was a scoreline that supremely flattered a Celtic side who continue to falter whenever they travel in Europe.

When Brendan Rodgers arrived at the club, Celtic had won just one away match in Europe since 2002. That isn’t including qualification phases. Celtic’s solitary 3-2 win at Spartak Moscow was their only away victory for 14 years. The last away win they had in European football proper before Spartak? A 1-0 win in Boavista.

Since then, it’s been a shocking state of affairs on Celtic’s travels. Rodgers did manage an impressive 3-0 win in Anderlecht last year. Outside of that, however, and it makes for grim reading. Outside of qualifiers, Rodgers has now taken his Celtic side to nine different venues. They’ve won in just one of them.

Too many Celtic players let their heads drop in Leipzig (Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images)

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This season, however, we’ve seen a worrying trait away from home that goes back to AEK Athens.

The Hoops started well in Germany this evening. They were playing fairly positive stuff, and nearly scored through Odsonne Edouard. Then, another cheap sucker-punch came through Leipzig’s opener.

Okay, fair enough, it was a set-back, it was time to see what Celtic were made of afterwards.

Instead, what we got was a pitiful response from the Scottish champions. Just like in Salzburg, when Leipzig got their first goal the heads dropped pathetically. There was no overwhelming desire to get back into the game, and outside of Ryan Christie, nobody impressed going forward.

“Ways to lose a game”

Chris Sutton hit the nail on the head on commentary when he said that there are ways to lose a game. Here, Celtic players lost it in a disastrous way. It may not have been reflected in the scoreline, but it certainly was in the performance.

Far too many individuals trudged off the pitch feeling satisfied at keeping Leipzig down to two goals. Celtic’s ambition away from home in Europe is a problem, but their mentality is an even bigger one.

Just like in Salzburg, and just like in Athens, Celtic offered nothing after going behind. If such set-backs are going to knock the stuffing out of this team so easily, then they can forget progression this season.

The Hoops crumbled after Leipzig’s opener (Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Rodgers has done so much good at Parkhead. The double treble is just an incredible achievement, and Celtic are top dogs in Scotland by a fair distance, regardless of what the league table says at the moment. The European away form, however, is just as bad as it’s ever been.

There’s no denying that Celtic were done by a host of injuries tonight. The likes of Tom Rogic, Scott Brown, and Filip Benkovic were big misses. Despite Benkovic being on the bench, it was clear he wasn’t 100% good to go.

That, however, is no excuse for tonight. Celtic started brightly and proved they could match Leipzig. Once the first goal went in, however, it was curtains due to the weak mentality throughout the side.

It has to get better before Celtic travel to Rosenborg. If it doesn’t, then Celtic can kiss goodbye to qualification for the last 32.