Celtic’s Champions League hopes were demolished by Legia Warsaw as the Polish side won with plenty to spare in the second leg of their third-round qualifier in Edinburgh.
Trailing 4-1 from the first game in Warsaw last week, a difficult task for the Hoops became impossible when Michal Zyro scored in the 36th minute to quell any notions of a famous fightback.
There seemed no immediate danger when Michal Kucharczyk sent Zyro through against just Emilio Izaguirre but he left the Honduran in his wake, drawing Fraser Forster and slipping the ball into the corner of the net.
Playing at Murrayfield because of the Commonwealth Games, the Scottish champions were booed off at the interval and when Kucharczyk added a second just after the hour the atmosphere threatened to turn ugly for a while with the home side and fans ultimately happy to escape without further punishment.
This crucial tie was Ronny Deila’s first big test as Celtic manager since taking over from Neil Lennon in June and he came up well short.
They drop into the Europa League play-offs which is unlikely to stimulate their fans and while the loss of Champions League money – £20m is a familiar figure – will not debilitate the club, there may be ramifications. Few will be surprised if Forster leaves but others such as defenders Virgil van Dijk and Adam Matthews may feel the time is now right to move on.
Moreover, without the lure of European football’s elite club competition, Deila may find it difficult to attract the quality of player supporters want to see. It was crystal-clear, over the two legs against Legia, that the former Stromsgodset manager’s squad needs bolstering.
Celtic Forster; Matthews, Izaguirre, van Dijk, Mulgrew, Lustig (Griffiths, 57), Biton, Commons (Pukki, 71), McGregor, Stokes (Forrest, 70), Johansen. Substitutes not used Zaluska, Berget, Kayal, Henderson.
Legia Warsaw Kuciak; Vrdoljak, Jodlowiec, Astiz, Rzezniczak, Broz, Duda (Pinto, 87), Brzyski, Radovic, Zyro (Bereszynski, 88), Kucharczyk (Kosecki, 75). Substitutes not used Jalocha, Dossa Junior, Saganowski, Orlando Sa.
Referee P Mazzoleni (Italy).