The Hoops were beaten 6-1 on aggregate by Legia Warsaw in the third qualifier but were reinstated after the Polish club were effectively thrown out by UEFA for fielding a player who should have been suspended in the second leg at Murrayfield.
The Scottish champions were confident of reaching the group stages of the tournament for the third successive season after a 1-1 draw in Slovenia last week but Maribor skipper Tavares grabbed the crucial goal in the 75th minute to take the visitors through 2-1 on aggregate.
Celtic were booed off at the end of the game with some angry supporters gathering outside the main door to protest. Those fans are unlikely to take any comfort from the assessment of boss Ronny Deila, who admitted the Europa League was his side's level at the moment
The Norwegian said: "At the end, there is only one thing to say, we haven't been good enough and we haven't deserved to go to the Champions League. There is no excuse. We are not good enough. Now it is the Europa League and we will do everything we can to achieve things in that competition. That is our level now.
"We didn't lose because of the defending, we lost because we didn't create anything. We have to have more tempo and movement in our play, that is the job and it has to start now."
Having been knocked out of the same competition twice it is hard to disagree with Deila that the Champions League is not Celtic’s level. In fact, he may have a job proving that the Europa League is after this abject display. To completely blame Deila would be remiss. Celtic’s disastrous start to the season is the result of years of under investment. Neil Lennon saw the writing on the wall and moved on. Celtic need to address the lack of quality in their squad – and they need to do so soon. The fact that there is bordering on very little competition in the Scottish Premiership has allowed the Bhoys to coast domestically and it has cost them in Europe.
Celtic will find out on Friday who they get in the group stages of the Europa League and yes they could face Legia Warsaw (would be fun)
Daily Record back page
WHAT THE MEDIA SAID
Keith Jackson (Daily Record): Park the bus. Shut up shop. Strangle the life out of them. Any cliche from Ye Olde Coaching Manual would have done. But just when Scotland’s Champions needed their new manager to prove that he could be as old school and as cold hearted as the very best of them, Ronny Deila let romance get the better of him all over again. And for the second time this summer it has cost Celtic their Champions League lives. What went on here last night, as a monumentally ordinary NK Maribor grabbed UEFA’s jackpot out of Deila’s hands, was almost inexplicable.
- Sports & Recreation
- Legia Warsaw
- Ronny Deila
- Europa League