The gap between domestic Scottish football and the Champions League has never looked wider. While Celtic cruised to the title last season, finishing a massive 30 points clear of Aberdeen, they have been brutally exposed in Europe’s premiere club competition in recent weeks.
And Dedryck Boyata perhaps sums up Celtic’s struggles on the continent. Arguably the best defender in Scottish football since the turn of the year, the bumbling Belgian has looked like a Sunday league player against PSG and Bayern Munich.
After a crucial error gifted Bayern the opening goal in Celtic’s recent 2-1 defeat to the Bavarian giants, French paper L’Equipe gave Boyata a match rating of 1/10 as The Hoops were thumped 7-1 away at Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday evening.
And perhaps Celtic are now discovering why former club Manchester City were suddenly willing to cut ties with one of their FA Youth Cup winning stars back in the summer of 2015.
Boyata featured fairly regularly under Roberto Mancini at The Etihad but, after being sent off early in a 2-0 home defeat to Arsenal, he rarely played for the club again.
The mistake rather summed up Boyata’s unhelpful penchant for crucial mistakes at big moments in games – something that the centre-back has struggled with at the very top level of the European game in Celtic colours this season.
With Manchester City aiming to fight for both Premier League and Champions League titles, they clearly did not believe that Boyata was cut out for such a stage. And while Boyata continues to shine in Scotland, he still has a long way to go before he can make that step up in Europe.