By David Coates:
It may have only been a friendly but Celtic’s 4-0 defeat at the hands of Ajax in Amsterdam will signal as a wakeup call for Neil Lennon’s side.
Friendlies may be all about trying to find match fitness and shake away any rustiness from the holidays, but Celtic’s pre-season campaign so far may start to worry Neil Lennon and his coaching staff.
Their defeat against the reigning Dutch champions saw their defensive frailties against better opposition exposed once again, and then Norwich added further pain with victory at Celtic Park.
And with just two weeks till the crucial Champions League qualifier against HJK Helsinki, the friendly against Inter Milan will be even more important in terms of generating confidence ahead of such a big game.
There is no doubt that Celtic need to add more quality to their side, in particular in defence.
But after Neil Lennon’s comments that no signings may be made before the Champions League qualifiers Celtic will have to make do with what they have.
After the performance against Ajax Neil Lennon may have one last scout around the World to find that extra piece of quality ahead of the Helsinki game.
Even though the current squad of players that Celtic has at their disposal should have enough to beat the Finnish champions, the lack of signings again makes you feel that the Celtic board have a hold on the purse strings.
Of course there have been attempts to bring in players such as defender Matt Mills, Korean midfielder Kim Bo-Kyung and the ongoing attempts to sign Rosenberg midfielder Markus Henriksen.
But still no players have arrived and with Neil Lennon stating that no players will sign until they know they are in the Champions League group stages new signings don’t look likely.
However surely new players have to come in and help bring more quality to the Celtic side and to give them the best chance of qualifying for the Champions League.
Even though there are financial constraints which are affecting clubs around Scotland over the whole Rangers situation and doubts over the current TV deal Celtic should be the least affected.
And if you listen to Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell they have their own financial strategy in place to cope with an SPL without Rangers.
But Celtic look like they will have to release players before they can sign them.
The main priority over the summer was signing a defender perhaps even with European experience to help get through the Champions League group stage.
Perhaps even spending a bit more money to get that kind of player into the Celtic squad. If Celtic failed to reach the Champions League then there are players who could be released such as Ki who could fetch decent transfer fees to compensate.
If Celtic were to get into the Champions League group stages then they would be able to cover the cost and even add more quality to the current Celtic side.
Also a striker should be high on the list of priorities with both Gary Hooper and Anthony Stokes failing to find their sharpness in pre-season.
They better find their form quickly with just weeks to the start of the season.
The big worry for Celtic fans will be without Rangers in the SPL the Celtic board will cut back and just add enough quality to win the SPL but not enough to make an impact in Europe.
However winning the SPL title alone may not be good enough to satisfy the Celtic fans for the next few seasons.