Celtic have clearly been far from their invincible and dominating usual selves this season, losing one and drawing another of their opening five Scottish Premiership fixtures. The stuttering start to 2018-19 has them trailing table-topping Hearts by five points ahead of this weekend’s round of fixtures, and manager Brendan Rodgers has admitted that his current squad isn’t as impressive as it used to be.
Celtic went unbeaten in the league in Rodgers’ first season, winning the domestic treble, while they made light work of others by successfully defending all three trophies last term. The Hoops failed to qualify for the Champions League group stages this season and have been far from their best thus far.
“I don’t think we’re anywhere near the level of our game,” Rodgers told The Scottish Sun.
“We haven’t been as dynamic as we have been in the last couple of years. It might be a season for us like that.”
Celtic have been weak in front of goal, managing to register just five goals in as many Premiership games. Hearts have scored 11 within the same period, while Steven Gerrard’s Rangers, just two points behind the Hoops, have banged in 10.
It is safe to say losing Moussa Dembele at the start of the campaign is beginning to have its toll on Celtic, while the struggles of striker Leigh Griffiths and attacking midfielder Scott Sinclair, both of whom are yet to opening their account in front of goal this term, have also contributed to the club’s early-campaign shortcomings.
Rodgers’ side visit Kilmarnock on Sunday, and playing on Rugby Park’s dreaded synthetic pitch couldn’t have come at a worse time. Celtic remain the team to beat in the Scottish Premiership, but Rodgers’ admission should surely get their fans uneasy ahead of the long campaign.