Celtic fail to qualify for the Champions League. But is this a blessing in disguise?

Updated: Aug 12

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou

Let me be clear when I say that I absolutely believe Celtic's inability to qualify for the Champions League group stages since the 2017/18 campaign is a failure, and certainly not something to be considered a positive.

Nights under the (disco) lights on Europe's biggest stage, the quality of opposition and the riches that it brings to Parkhead are a few of many reasons why this football club craves and needs to hear the midweek Champions League music in our stadium.

I'm the first to stress that losing to AEK Athens, Cluj and Ferencvaros wasn't good enough and absolutely resented dropping into Europe's reserve competition, the Europa League. I strongly felt we belonged in the Champions League ahead of the clubs from Greece, Romania and Hungary who managed to sweep us aside in seasons gone by.

This year I feel different. Maybe it's because I didn't expect us to quality after three years of similar results. Or maybe it's because big Ange never really stood a chance working with the squad he's inherited. Or it could be that I genuinely don't think the Celtic board deserves to say that their team is a Champions League side.

As a fan, this is a difficult concept to wrap your head around but think about it for just a minute. This latest early CL exit is the culmination of years of mismanagement. Chris Sutton put it better than I ever could:

Putting aside these troubles for one minute however, let's look at the reality of the situation. If we can't beat a team finishing second in the Danish Superliga over two legs then we are not going to fair well as bottom seeds in a Champions League group where the quality gap is expanding at an exponential rate. This could be a confidence destroyer for the team in a season where one of the biggest challenges will be to build this back.

Looking at the positives, let's suppose that we do manage to navigate our way into the Europa League group stages this season. We will still grab a share of prize money, experience nights under the lights and be able to attract a certain calibre of player to Parkhead before the end of the transfer window.

Not to mention it being a good way for Big Ange to 'cut his teeth' into setting his Celtic side up against European opposition and preparing his squad for future Champions League campaigns.

I'm not happy about it, but this latest stumble could be the catalyst for a change of attitude in the club from the top down as the rebuild begins.

Good luck Ange, the Celtic faithful are behind you the whole way!