So the promising foundations found against Lille and Aberdeen proved as brittle as plywood. False dawns. Celtic’s 4-1 defeat at home to a depleted Sparta Prague on Thursday a crushing reminder that the rot is even deeper than first thought.

Cluj? Copenhagen? Ferencvaros? This most recent remake of the same old story was the worst of the lot.

It was a performance so apocalyptically bad — Sparta also hit the woodwork three times on top of their four goals — that you’re bereft of ideas for how Celtic can recover the rest of their season. What is their floor at this point? Just how brutally can they regress?

While there were glimmers of hope in the previous two games, there were also fragilities that stressed that this season’s underlying issues hadn’t vanished.

Against Lille last week they showed a coherent, well-executed gameplan that was duly rewarded with a 2-0 lead. In the first half. In the second, their pressing…





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