Should Celtic fans be worried about preseason results?

Posted by Andy Muirhead

Four games into preseason and Celtic are still to win a game against teams that are, with all respect, not as good as the Glasgow side.

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty ImagesWith a Champions League fixture eight days away, Neil Lennon must figure out a way to calm nervous supporters.

But after defeats to Crewe, Sevastopol, CFR Cluj and Greuther Furth, any neutral not knowing any of the clubs would think that Celtic are the lesser team. In fact, some Celtic fans have already voiced their displeasure and worry over the results and performances of players.

Eight days from now Celtic face Northern Irish side Cliftonville in the Champions League qualifiers and with only one preseason game against Union Berlin, between now and then, it isn't boding well for Celtic if they continue to play like they have lately.

So should Celtic fans worry about the results?

The short answer and correct one is no!

Preseason games are not about the final score, they are about getting players up to match fitness, getting to know the game(s) of the new signings, trying out new tactics and formations. But all the same, Tuesday's 6-2 defeat to a side (Greuther Furth) that finished bottom of the Bundesliga last season, winning only four games, is humiliating no matter what stage of the season you are at.

Looking at the team that faced Greuther Furth Tuesday, it was a pretty strong setup in a formation (3-5-2) that Celtic are no strangers to under Neil Lennon. First-team regulars Fraser Forster, Kelvin Wilson, Mikael Lustig, Charlie Mulgrew, Emilio Izaguirre, Anthony Stokes and Georgios Samaras; were joined by fringe players Biram Kayal, Tom Rogic, Lukasz Zaluska and Dylan McGeouch in the second half, while youngsters Liam Henderson, Calum Waters and Bahrudin Atajic and new bhoys Steven Mouyokolo, Virgil van Dijk and Amido Balde also took the field.

There was no Joe Ledley, Scott Brown, Gary Hooper, James Forrest or Victor Wanyama in the side -- five first-team regulars left out. Any side would struggle with said changes, but that is still no excuse for such a heavy defeat even in a glorified training game.

So what now for Lennon and Celtic?

They must dissect what has been going on in the past four games and then learn from their mistakes, errors and lapses of concentration. The Union Berlin game must be used as a test for the team that Lennon expects to field against Cliftonville and they must perform as they would in a competitive game.

Again, the scoreline at the end of the day is not important. However, the fitness levels, their play and their performances are -- and other than the kid Henderson, who else can you say has performed well?

And that is the most worrying sign that a kid, promoted from the Under-17s, is the one performing when others are not.

Time some players bucked up their ideas and pulled their fingers out performance-wise. Cliftonville may be a small club and the majority of Celtic fans are of the opinion that Celtic will dispatch them easily, but the same was said about a little club called Artmedia Bratislava.

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