What is said in public is not always the same as what is said in private.

Publicly there is always soft criticism and we saw that after the game, but I just wonder how brutally frank Brendan Rodgers might have been in his dressing room.

I cannot help but suspect that the time has come for a few blunt observations to be levelled at some of the players after the performance against Zenit St Petersburg on Thursday night.

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It is not that it was a one-off because we have seen these defensive frailties over and over from Celtic in Europe in recent seasons.

And while there is a fair argument to say the resources of Zenit far outstrip Celtic’s, you cannot shy away from just how poor the club were on the night.

And while there will always be a level of realism when you go out to a better team, I think the manner in which Celtic exited the competition is what frustrates.

Having played so well in the first leg, Celtic showed an ability to not just compete with Zenit but to dominate and take the game to them.
But it just wasn’t there in the return leg.

Part of that comes down to the fact they were always going to be better on home soil and always going to be better after another week and a competitive game. That has a bearing on it all but it doesn’t detract from how limp Celtic were.

There was an unease from the opening minutes and as that first goal went in you could sense the collapse coming. They just didn’t seem to have any spirit or courage.

The honest answer when you are seeing that time and time again is that the players have got to be able to learn from it. And if they can’t then you need to be able to think about bringing in replacements.

When you look at it on paper you have to say that there has been an improvement this season in terms of getting out of the group and getting into the Europa League. But while statistically there has been progress, I am not sure how visible that is on the pitch if the same defensive mistakes continue.

Everyone wants the glamour of European football, of the Champions League. No-one kids themselves about the disparity in resources and no-one expects Celtic to prevail against the elite-level teams.

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Aside from the money that it brings into the club, there is prestige in a wider sense to be gained from participation in Europe’s premier competition, but at the same time you have to be able to go in and offer something.

It is not an easy thing to do, particularly in the kind of groups Celtic have had in the past two seasons. But you cannot point to just one performance – Anderlecht in Brussels – as a barometer of learning and competing at this level.

It is fabulous that European football was secured after Christmas but there still has to be a way of playing and competing, even when you are punching above your weight.

I do wonder how much the performance will shape the thinking ahead of the summer transfer window. We will see what Marvin Compper brings once he gets into the team and Jack Hendry looks like a 
youngster with some potential, but with four qualification rounds to get through this summer to secure another invitation to the lucrative Champions League, then replacements looks necessary.

No-one expects Celtic to go out and splash the kind of 
money that is bandied around south of the border but being able to source players who can come in and make a genuine difference has to be paramount.

All three goals were cheaply given. 

The third killed the contest stone dead although I had wondered whether Scott Sinclair coming on – the winger was waiting on the touchline when the third went in – might have made a difference to Celtic’s shape and cohesion.

It just seemed as though there was never the belief to get the result.
The same failings have been evident time and time again but you have to try to solve them.

You have to address the reasons why you can command a first leg the way Celtic did in Glasgow and then allow all that good work to be undone with one complete collapse of concentration.
Time for contemplation between now and the qualifiers.