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Wednesday 16 October 2019

Lennon's Bhoys are in a bit of bother

Shock defeat: Neil Lennon
Shock defeat: Neil Lennon

Celtic saw their Champions League bid crumble on Tuesday night as they suffered a shock 4-3 defeat at home to Cluj.

The nightmare defeat saw the Hoops miss out on an initial £14m windfall but the costly implications go further.

Here's what the result could mean for Neil Lennon's side.

Finances

The Hoops' coffers have recently been swelled by Arsenal's £25m deposit for Kieran Tierney but that cash bonanza will now have to be used to cover the lost income from Celtic's failure to qualify for the Champions League. Uefa's main competition offers an immediate €15.25m payout for reaching the group stages, with €2.7m handed out for a win and €900,000 per draw. On top of that, group stage participants take a share of a €292m TV market pool while there is also a ranking bonus worth over £1m per place, calculated on the 32 competing clubs' coefficient points tallies. Teams reaching the last 16 each receive a further €9.5m .

The prizes on offer in the Europa League are nowhere near as generous. Just €2.92m is awarded to the 48 teams making it to the group stage, with €570,000 for every win and €190,000 for a draw. The TV market pool is worth only €168m and the coefficient ranking bonus just €71,430.

Playing squad

Lennon last week suggested he might look to bring in another five players but that was before his side let their windfall slip. The Cluj catastrophe has underlined the need for fresh recruits. Tierney's departure has left Lennon with only one left-back in Boli Bolingoli.

Callum McGregor was shifted from midfield to cover in defence but the Scotland midfielder toiled out of position.

Title race

For a number of Celtic supporters, the Champions League was of secondary importance as their team edges closer to the holy grail of 10 league titles in a row.

But the Scottish champions now face the prospect of Thursday-Sunday fixtures against some of the continent's lesser lights at a time when Rangers are growing in strength under Steven Gerrard.

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