After Tuesday's game against Barcelona, former Barca star Bernd Schuster launched a broadside at Celtic for what he saw as an "ultra-defensive" performance from the Scottish champions.
Speaking to Spanish radio station ABC Punto, Schuster said: "I am tired of watching matches like Barca-Celtic on television. I don't know what a team like Celtic are doing playing in the Champions League.
"They have watched too much of the videos of Chelsea playing last season and have tried to copy the system. This ultra defensive style is not football. For me, Chelsea has set a very bad example for football, it was dreadful. It is a sad reality that they used this style of football to become the champions of Europe last season and that has now influenced the coaches at Celtic.
"You see Celtic defending with 10 men and being close to winning a point at the home of the best club in the world? That's unjust… Celtic don't deserve to be in it if they play with this style of football."
Now Schuster was with respect, a legendary player but does he actually know much about the game of football?
For decades the Italians set out their teams to be ultra-defensive and called it the Catenaccio; funny how he never came down hard on the likes of AC Milan and Juventus, who played out a borefest in the Champions League final back in 2003. Milan later won the game on penalties, but for the neutrals the game was a poor example of what the premier European club competition final should have been. Yes, both were great teams but neither had the guts to go out and attack.
Back in 1967, Jock Stein crushed the Italians' ultra-defensive tactics in Lisbon with a tactic that the Dutch famously modelled and tweaked in later years. Stein's team, dubbed the Lisbon Lions, attacked Inter Milan - after conceding an early penalty – for the whole game. A feat that made the footballing world sit up and take notice.
Times have changed in European football let alone at Celtic Park. The players at Parkhead are, with all respect, not fit to lace the boots of those great men who made up the first British team to lift the European Cup; the only time a Scottish club has ever lifted it.
For the class of 2012, Barcelona are the elite of European football, but if UEFA were more interested in the football rather than chasing the cash then only the champions of each league in Europe should be in Europe's premier club competition - which means Barcelona would be playing in the Europa League rather than the Champions League.
But UEFA in their great capitalist wisdom have turned the Champions League into one massive cash cow, which they can never milk dry. The big clubs rack up huge debts to try to secure success both domestically and in Europe – Real Madrid and Barcelona are but two clubs who have done so. In fact, their combined debt would be able to buy Celtic's players [based on their total purchase price] 71 times over. I wonder if Schuster actually thought about what would happen to Celtic if they racked up such debts to secure European glory?
Of course the majority of Barca players have come through their youth ranks, including their talisman Lionel Messi. But how much did Barca invest in Messi both on and off the park?
Back to Schuster's comments; the man has 14 years experience as a manager, from his first job at Fortuna Koln to Getafe, Real Madrid and finally Besiktas. The longest he has stayed at one club is a mere two years! In those 14 years as a manager, he has only won two pieces of silverware: La Liga and the Spanish Supercopa, both with Real Madrid in the 2007-08 season.
There is no denying his credentials as a player as he amassed 14 pieces of silverware, though he never lifted the European Cup. He came close to doing so in 1986 with Barcelona, but fell at the final hurdle against Steaua Bucharest on penalties.
In contrast to Schuster, we have Celtic manager Neil Lennon - a man who is a legend in his own right (among the Hoops support that is). During his playing career, Lennon amassed 13 pieces of silverware north and south of the border. He even played in a European final but lost out to Joe Mourinho's Porto side in extra-time. After the Scottish press jumped on the criticism from the unemployed German, Neil Lennon hit back in style.
The Northern Irishman said: "It's just the ramblings of someone who has failed as a coach. I don't take too much notice of Bernd Schuster. I am more into the thoughts of Gordon Strachan, Martin O'Neill and the Alex Ferguson's of this world, who I would take advice from before anyone else. I am disappointed that the media here wanted to emphasise his thoughts on the game."
Despite the backs-to-the wall performance from Celtic, Lennon issued a rebuttal of Schuster's comments that he had set out his side to be ultra-defensive.
"I was sitting there 60 minutes into the game thinking 'God, what is Bernd Schuster thinking of our performance here, I better change it. I did go with two strikers and I did bring on James Forrest and Kris Commons. I didn't set out to be defensive, but sometimes Barcelona can get a grip of the opposition and not let go."
And that is true. Celtic caused Barcelona trouble in the early exchanges of the game, with Greek forward Georgios Samaras being a thorn in their side. It was his header that actually saw Celtic take the lead, albeit from a deflection off Javier Mascherano. Soon after, though, Samaras picked up an injury and was substituted - which had an impact on the game, shifting the emphasis from attack to more of a defensive job. Barca equalised just before half time, but they only secured all three points with the last kick of the game through Jordi Alba.
The Italians of yesteryear would have been proud of that performance from Celtic, in fact the majority of British punditry - bar one or two full-of-themselves journos - lauded Celtic's performance and sympathised with the way they had lost the game.
Predictably though, elements of the Rangers support crawled from their hiding places - where they slinked off to after being beaten by Stirling Albion - and mocked the performance of Celtic and what they saw as an ultra defensive and anti-football performance. A tad rich coming from them, given that Walter Smith reached the UEFA Cup final in 2008 by playing ultra defensive - a tactic that was dubbed by some, including myself as ‘Walteneccio'.
Back in 2007, Rangers played host to Barcelona at Ibrox and ended the 90 minutes with a point. After the match, Lionel Messi dubbed Rangers' performance as anti-football, a comment which didn't sit nicely with many Rangers fans let alone then-manager Walter Smith.
This week, those same Rangers fans have mocked Celtic for what was reported as a new record low in possession - UEFA stated so on its official website – as the Hoops saw a mere 10% of the ball to Barcelona's 90%. A nice stat for the hordes of Rangers fans to jump on, but sadly a wrong one. UEFA later did a u-turn and upped Celtic's possession to 26%. You could just hear the shrieks of hysteria emanating from the Rangers fans and those whose lives revolve around the keyboard and fan forums.
The Rangers fans love to throw stats in Celtic fans' faces, so let's take a closer look at THAT Rangers game against Barcelona that they are so proud of, and compare it to Celtic's game this week.
Rangers v Barcelona (2007)
Goals scored: 0
Attempts on target: 0
Attempts off target: 1
Barcelonav Celtic (2012)
Goals scored: 1
Attempts on target: 2
Attempts off target:2
Against a side like Barcelona most sides would be pegged back and, given the gulf between Rangers and Celtic and Barca, it is no great surprise that both Scottish teams were defensive. Although only one side went out with a game plan to be ultra-defensive: Rangers. Celtic were pegged back and nullified the threat of Lionel Messi, the first time in 12 games that any side in any competition had done so.
As for Schuster, he was laughed out of Besiktas and has been unemployed since. His comments come at a time when he is looking for a new job, but because of his past managerial exploits or lack thereof, Steve Kean may get a job in management before the German.
One last stat to throw in Schuster's direction: back in August 2012 Barcelona were beaten by Real Madrid 3-2 in the Spanish Super Cup. On that night, Barca's possession stood at 67% and Real Madrid's at 33% - I await Schuster's condemnation of Jose Mourinho's side.