Celtic have a mountain to climb to ensure they are still playing European football after Christmas following a 2-0 loss to RB Leipzig when ended their hopes of porgressing to the Champions League knockout stages.
Ange Postecoglou’s side were left devastated as late goals from ex-Chelsea forward Timo Werner and substitute Emil Forsberg secured maximum points for the German outfit at Parkhead.
It leaves the Scottish champions facing a mammoth task to remain in Europe entirely this season after Shakhtar Donetsk drew 1-1 with Group F leaders Real Madrid in the other tie.
The Hoops squandered a number of good chances and were left to rue those missed opportunities in the second half as the Bundesliga side displayed their ruthless edge.
While ambitions of a two-two finish in the section now beyond them, Celtic must re-group quickly as they attempt to salvage a place in the Europa League last-16.
With just one points from four group matches, the Parkhead club now require a victory at home against Shakhtar and claim at least a point in Madrid to extend their involvement in Europe.
The Glasgow giants have now equalled Monaco’s record of having lost seven consecutive home matches in the group stage, stretching back to 2016.
GlasgowWorld reflects on the three main talking points on a galling night for Celtic.
Missed chances galore
If Ange Postecoglou and his players have learned anything from their Champions League participation so far this season, capitalising on chances created is a must at this level.
Celtic simply have failed to do so in all four matches to date and on a night that promised much initially during the opening 45 minutes, their profligacy in front of goal continued to cost them dearly.
They racked up 16 shots on goal, but just two of them were on target and after an hour it seemed inevitable that RB Leipzig would not be so generous at the other end if given a clear sight.
Maeda, Furuhashi, O’Riley and Giakoumakis all wasted opportunitied while the scoreline was still in the balance and will recognise they must do better.
Injury problems continue to mount
Liel Abada became the latest injury victim after he was replaced shortly before half-time with a knee problem.
The winger was involved in a collision with a Leipzig player, and the Israeli international came off far worse as he went to ground for a second time just moments after receiving treatment.
Dealing with injuries has now become a day-to-day feature for Ange Postecoglou with the relentless fixture schedule providing no respite and the Australian believes the mental impact of losing three out of their four group stage matches are taking its toll on his players.
Postecoglou will hope Abada, who joins Callum McGregor and Jota on treatement table, will not be out for too long, stating on BT Sport “I don’t think it is anything serious. I think it is more of a dead leg than anything.”
McGregor absence noticable
Deprived of captain Callum McGregor due to a knee injury and influential winger Jota through a muscle problem, manager Ange Postecoglou opted to dile down on his attacking philosophy.
However, given the style of football adopted by the Australian from early on in this match, it seemed he wasn’t looking for a like-for-like replacement to McGregor.
The creative Matt O’Riley was, once again, asked to take up a deeper midfield role that he’s become well accustomed to, while Reo Hatate was told to play his own game and force his team mates into playing higher up the park.
In McGregor’s absence, Celtic lacked a cool and composed head under pressure with both players decision making letting them down.