Darren Bent has questioned where Celtic turn their focus to after being knocked out of the Champions League qualifying stages.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Aston Villa and England striker revealed his disappointment at the Hoops’ failure to qualify for Europe’s top club competition yet again, having been forced to take part in the Europa League last season.
A 4-3 defeat at Parkhead to Romanian champions Cluj on Wednesday broke the hearts of the Bhoys and sealed the Hoops’ fate on the European stage.
Bent says that Celtic are a club who are synonymous with the Champions League and questioned where the players and the club turn their minds to after such a disappointing defeat.
Bent told Football Insider: “It is a massive blow and you’ve got to wonder where their mindset goes because I know Champions League football is a big thing up there.”
“Celtic have had some great days in the Champions League and the big question is where do they go from here? They’re going to be nailed on to win the league, them or Rangers in a two-horse race.
“The Champions League is a draw for them – the atmosphere, the crowds, I’m not even a Celtic fan but I used to love watching Celtic in the Champions League, they were so unpredictable and you never knew what was going to happen. It’s a big blow.”
Celtic managed to make it to the Europa League knock-out stages last season after making it through the groups, Spanish side Valencia knocking them out at the round of 32.
They will have to qualify for the same competition again this year, with one more qualifying round to go for Neil Lennon and his side.