Ex-Celtic skipper Paul Lambert has claimed that his former side is lacking the key factor of belief that they played in the early 2000s.
The Stoke boss watched with dismay as Celtic failed to build on their 1-0 aggregate lead over Zenit and crashed out of the Europa League after a 3-0 defeat on Thursday night.
He believes that Brendan Rodgers tactics with Celtic aren’t strong enough to deal with setbacks like the early goal they conceded to Zenit, which leveled the tie on the night.
Lambert said, as quoted by The Herald:
“I am never one to compare eras because I think it is unfair but what I would say is that we had a team that were streetwise and strong enough to go out and have a sense of belief in a situation like that.”
Lambert examine the Celtic’s 2001 side that came back from 2-0 down to a memorable 3-2 Champions League win over Juventus as an example of when the team he played with showed a belief which the current side lacks.
“We scored goals against top-level clubs – that defeat in Turin still irks me to this day because we should have had a point against Juventus – and having that ability to go and score a goal alleviates pressure throughout the entire team.”
“The balance just doesn’t seem right at the minute. You need to be able to stand strong in these games and play with confidence in yourself and in one another.”
However, Celtic managed to bounce back from the defeat to Zenit quickly as they secured a comfortable 2-0 win at Pittrode against Aberdeen in a vital league match on Sunday.
Celtic went into the match with all gun blazing having seen their lead at the top of the table cut to six points, following Rangers 2-0 win over Hearts on Saturday.
This win over Derek McInnes’ side didn’t only send a message to their arch-rivals, but also gets disappointed fans back onside after the embarrassing defeat in Russia.