Celtic are a weak team who have lost the qualities which made them rampantly successful nine-time champions – and the media will never let them forget that.
That is according to ex-Scottish Premiership striker Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively to Football Insider after Celtic officially surrendered the Scottish Premiership title to Rangers after a 0-0 draw with Dundee United on Sunday.
Rangers have a 20-point lead over Celtic and could receive a guard of honour when the two teams meet at Parkhead on 21 March.
Critics will point to an ill-advised mid-season trip to Dubai and a raft of unsuccessful summer signings in analysing the Hoops’ 2020-21 capitulation.
A complete overhaul of the club – both on and off the pitch – is widely expected in the summer and fans will be hoping for much better next season.
Whelan launched a scathing attack on Celtic who he claims have lost the grit and steel that once made them one of the most successful teams in Scottish history.
He told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs: “It’s not good enough. It’s drastically bad. It’s been one of the worst Celtic seasons I can remember for a long time.
“We’ve seen an absolute collapse and inconsistency from a team that has gone from winning nearly every game this season to really struggling.
“They’ve shown absolutely no quality at times. They’ve been very weak at times too, which has not been the Celtic way. They have always, as long as I can remember, been strong defensively.
“Attacking and midfield-wise, they’ve lost that balance and grittiness about them to go into games and get something.
“They’ve not shown that this year. It’s been really, really disappointing. There have been too many distractions. Going to Dubai, that brought more pressure on them.
“The fact that they were miles off in terms of points from Rangers, that is a pressure in itself. That will never be out of the media. They have not stood up to the challenge this year.
“Steven Gerrard will not rest on his laurels. He’ll know that the biggest challenge is ahead of them which is retaining the title.”
Quoted in The Scotsman, interim boss John Kennedy was sceptical of a complete Parkhead rebuild: “Yes, there have been concerns this year that have to be addressed but massive overhauls don’t often work so we have to be stable.
“We know what we have to fix and we have to make sure we fix it.”