The Hoops had the opportunity to feature in this season’s edition of the Champions League, yet they were outdone by Malmo at the final qualifying stage, going down 4-3 on aggregate.
As a result, the Scottish champions were eliminated to the Europa League whereas Malmo participated in Europe’s most prestigious event, drawing Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain in the same group.
Malmo, unsurprisingly, came unstuck against the two European giants, losing their final group stage by a whopping 8-0 scoreline as Madrid superstar Cristian Ronaldo helped himself to four goals.
Commenting on what his side possibly avoided, Celtic boss Deila says he wants his side to face the best and insisted that the Hoops would have fared much better than Age Hareide’s side.
“There’s so many different aspects to the Champions League. You want to play against the best and they are huge occasions at Celtic Park. There’s the financial aspect that brings as well,” he explained.
“There were a lot of things around the Malmo game that contributed to their result in Madrid. The coach is leaving and football has stopped in Sweden.
“But we feel we should have won that game more comfortably at Celtic Park. And it’s too simple to say the same would happen to us if we had played in Madrid.
“I don’t think we would go down 8-0 there. It’s different circumstances.”
Celtic missed a host of chances in their home encounter against Malmo and let slip a two-goal lead, shipping two away goals and, despite still winning 3-2, handing the initiative to the Swedes.
The Europa League still offered a good opportunity for Celtic to make inroads in Europe, yet they were dealt a tough group in Ajax, Fenerbahce and Molde and have ultimately finished bottom.
For Celtic now, it is all about building for next term, and making sure the same mistakes aren’t repeated.