Champions League exit means domestic dominance is essential

By David Walton

August 16, 2018

After getting knocked out of the Champions League by AEK Athens, Celtic must start dominating domestically.

The Hoops were beaten soundly in Greece in a 2-1 second-leg defeat. This led to the Hoops crashing out 3-2 on aggregate.

It was a bitter pill to swallow, not least because of the mood around the club. Supporters were already angry with the board after Rodgers hinted at a lack of investment. It all stemmed from not going for John McGinn, who ultimately ended up at Aston Villa.

Celtic must cut out sloppy defeats like the one at Hearts (Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Rodgers has cut a frustrating figure, and that frustration has seeped into the support. Celtic as a club need to invest, but primarily they need to start dominating domestically once more.

Like it or not, a threat is emerging in Steven Gerrard’s Rangers. Out of their two Europa League qualifiers, they’ve won both of them. The Ibrox side have goals in their team and are growing in momentum.

Meanwhile, it feels as though Celtic are slowly losing theirs. With Dedryck Boyata not wanting to play for the club, to a succession of setbacks both domestically and in Europe. Confidence has drained and momentum has waned.

It now means that Celtic have to start making their mark in the Scottish game. The Hoops failed to win more than three games in a row last season. That showed a decrease in quality, but it’s threatening to take yet another hit this season.

Rodgers’ troops remain by far the best side in Scotland when they’re on their game. That much is undeniable.

Celtic have continuously proven themselves to be the best team in the country when on form (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Therefore, it’s of vital importance that the club turns their attention back to dominating at home. Letting Gerrard’s side to creep up on them is a dangerous thing to allow.

Aberdeen, Hibernian, and Hearts all remain capable of taking points from the champions. They’ve shown as much in the past. If Celtic, therefore, continue to allow an aura of negativity around the club, more poor results will follow.

It’s almost as if the club needs to start from square one again. Focusing on domestic matters and establishing dominance once again is the primary goal. European ambitions should, therefore, come afterwards.

Doing so whilst sorting out the internal issues that are clearly plaguing operations is essential.

Should Celtic re-establish their dominance over Scotland and get a strong run of results going, all will be forgiven.

Should they allow Rangers even a sniff of a title challenge this season, then that certainly will not.