Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand is of the opinion that Celtic will be a major absentee from the Champions League this campaign. The Scottish club were knocked out of the competition in the final qualification round after losing to Danish club Maribor. There were looking to reach the group stages for the second consecutive season after having given a huge lifeline from the previous round. Despite being defeated by Polish club Warsaw, Celtic were reinstated back into the competition after their opponents were found guilty of fielding an ineligible player.
Ferdinand, who has come up against Celtic on a couple of occasions in the Champions League when playing for Manchester United, says that the British club represents a lot of history and it will be sad to see them not in the elite European competition for the coming campaign. Celtic manager Ronny Deila gave a damning assessment of the club’s position in the European elite table. He said that Celtic are no longer the top club that they once were and that they should get used to playing in the Europa league more often than not.
Celtic have won the league without much opposition in the last few years due to the absence of Rangers, who are slowly making their way up the Scottish football league.
“I think for other teams Celtic will be a big miss, especially from the sense of occasion they bring. In the Champions League with teams like Barcelona, I speak to Gerard Pique and others and they say ‘The atmosphere against Celtic away is just unbelievable’. Some of them just don’t know about it. No disrespect to Scottish football but sometimes people in other countries don’t know the history of Celtic. But when they come here they leave aware of what is going on and the importance of the club,” said Ferdinand.