Sport Opinion

Celtic: Counting the cost of failure in Champions League

Brendan Rodgers is discovering what it feels like to become a victim of his own success. The exceptional achievements of his first two seasons as Celtic manager, wholly unprecedented in the history of Scottish football, mean even the slightest hint of regression brings the most intense scrutiny.

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Andrew Smith: Easy conclusions hide the actual truth of Celtic’s exit

Celtic’s porous defending offers up an easy narrative about the club’s Champions League hopes evaporating in Athens last night. On BT Sport, pundit Chris Sutton wasn’t going to pass up the open goals the situation threw up – even allowing for a spirited late rally that almost allowed them to recover a two-goal deficit after a headed strike by substitute Scott Sinclair made it 2-1 in the 77th minute.

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Did Steven Gerrard research Rangers history before referee complaint?

We’ll be remembering this fabulously long, hot summer for decades to come. And we’ll also be waxing nostalgic about Russia’s World Cup, the best-ever if you were too young for 1970, packed with great games, big shocks, thrilling climaxes – and, most surprising of all, England didn’t stink the place out. So spare a thought for Steven Gerrard who can’t have got much of a suntan, who can’t have seen many of the Three Lions’ games in their charge to the semi-finals, and who couldn’t be in a TV studio this time, punditising and to-be-fairing and jumping up and down behind the glass when ruthless baby’s candy thief Harry Kane stuck out a cynical heel to re-route a team-mate’s shot and claim his hat-trick against the mighty Panama.

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Though he has been named as Leinster captain, Johnny Sexton may not be a regular performer. Picture: Getty.

Allan Massie: Captain’s influence is no longer a major factor

L einster announced this week that Johnny Sexton is the new club 
captain, taking over from Isa Nacewa who has retired. In one sense this wasn’t surprising. Sexton is perhaps the most necessary player for both Leinster and Ireland. When he goes well, they go well. Moreover it is quite possible that he would have been disappointed, even disgruntled, if the captaincy had gone to someone else.

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