Was it embarrassing? Well, to use the vernacular of the terraces, no-one wants to be on the end of a scudding in front of the watching eyes of Europe. It was most certainly a harrowing experience for those in green and white who chased shadows for 90 minutes.

Celtic’s 5-0 defeat last night may well be put into perspective by whatever Paris-Saint Germain ultimately go on to do in this competition but if there was humiliation in the way that the Parisians toyed with Celtic, the truth is that there was also something inevitable about it.

In a competition that is skewered in favour of the elite, a bar that was already set high has been jumped up once again.

Having spent vast sums of money assembling a side to win the Champions League, PSG were not coming to Glasgow for a kick-around. They came with menace and promise and filleted Celtic with wincing precision.

There would have been frustration in the Celtic dressing room on Tuesday night. There would also have been a sense of impotency that they couldn’t compete a team whose movement, pace, and aggression ensured this was a mismatch in terms of a contest.

But to suggest, as some have in the aftermath, that there is disgrace in that is a nonsense.

In the same way that Celtic regularly dish out similarly sobering afternoons to those on a domestic front whose budget is dwarfed by the Parkhead side, so too Brendan Rodgers’ side are never going to genuinally compete against the might of a team who can spend £198m on one player, commit £150m to another and splurge £50m on an additional attacking option.

Celtic’s failure to acquire a central defender in the summer transfer window was compounded by bad luck with injuries to Dedryck Boyata and Erik Sviatchenko, injuries which accentuated that failure. But to carp at that as the reason for the torturous experience last night is wide of the mark.

Given the financial market the club are in, there are few who could have been expected to make a genuine difference against the class of PSG on a night when Celtic were run ragged in every area of the pitch. They were exposed by PSG not because they struggled defensively but because they struggled to lay a glove on their visitors.

But it is not in this environment, whoever harsh it proved, where Celtic will be judged in the Champions League.

The next step on this journey comes in a fortnight in Brussels. Anderlecht, themselves on the back of a sound defeat last night to Bayern Munich, are the real barometer of just where Celtic are at this level.

It remains conceivable that Celtic can harbour ambitions to finish third in the group and secure a place in the Europa league after Christmas – economically and in terms of longevity probably their ideal situation – and in that respect it will be the two games against the Belgians which will determine that outcome.

PSG will dish out a few results like that this season. It is how Celtic move on from it that will define their Champions League campaign.

HeraldScotland | Sport

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