Glasgow Celtic’s 4-3 Champions League defeat to Romania’s CFR Cluj has led to the loss of millions of pounds.
What is the cost of a lucky workmanlike team knocking out the far-superior Scottish champions of Europe’s top club competition?
According to the BBC, the exit means Celtic lost out on the opportunity to bank £14.13m by making the group stages of the Champions League. It’s the one all the best players want to participate in.
Should they make the Europa League group stages, they will receive a paltry £2.71m by comparison.
With 76 minutes on the clock Celtic’s Ryan Christie had the ecstatic fans celebrating by scoring to have them winning 3-2 on the night, and the job looked all but over.
Within four minutes the celebrations proved to be premature with Cluj securing a shock equaliser in the 80th minute of the game. It put them in front on the away goal rule.
With Celtic now rampant, they had 10 minutes plus stoppage time to score the winner and save the tie, and the fans were still hopeful.
Substitute Leigh Griffiths came on with only seven minutes to go. It seemed like the last throw of the dice.
From a well-taken free kick, Griffiths missed a golden opportunity to secure Celtic’s Champions League place by heading wide whilst clean through.
The Hoops continued to bombard the Cluj goal, especially when the crowd were informed there was a minimum of six extra minutes.
In the 97th minute, the goal finally arrived, but unfortunately it was scored by Tucudean, and as Cluj celebrated their goal, the ref blew his whistle.
That’s twice in a row Celtic failed to advance and get into the Champions League group stages, and this time they only have themselves to blame.
Manager Neil Lennon will have to lift his team to qualify for the Europa League group stages against either AIK of Sweden or Moldova’s Sherrif Tiraspol in the play-offs.
Celtic will pick up a lot less money, but players want to play in Europe to become better known and gain an improved reputation.
The largest blow will be losing out on the Champions League pot of gold and Celtic’s share of the coefficient rankings.