IT was not a night that did any real damage to Celtic given the fact Neil Lennon’s side had already qualified but the defeat meant they passed up the chance to become the first Celtic side to go through a European campaign undefeated. Still, with a place in Monday’s Europa League draw long assured, it was an evening when Lennon could afford to be experimental as he rested key players ahead of a pivotal domestic month. What did we learn?

Celtic need a striker in January

Leigh Griffiths’ performance would have been watched eagerly by Scotland manager Steve Clarke with a view to the March play-off games but although the forward will have benefited hugely from getting a full game under his belt, he remains short of full match fitness. There were little reminders of Griffiths’ natural ability, but he has yet to rediscover that yard of pace he had when playing regularly. Vakoun Issouf Bayo had a header in the second period but right now if Odsonne Edouard isn’t fit and available then Celtic are significantly weakened.

Lennon is prepared to give youth its chance

The Parkhead side’s squad had a 16-year-old, an 18-year-old, a 19-year-old, a 20-year-old, a 21-year-old and a 22-year-old. Young Karamoko Dembele didn’t quite get the chance to leave an impression on the game but the fact he has put himself in a position for first-team football at 16 suggests there is so much in front of the teenager. Similarly, Scott Robertson made his full debut for Celtic and can feel encouraged by his performance in a night when many around him were flat.

Scott Sinclair fails to make case

Sinclair’s omission from Celtic squads this season has raised a few eyebrows. The English winger has consistently been a goal threat for the Parkhead side since his arrival in Brendan Rodgers’ inaugural season at the club but he did little to enhance his chance for regular inclusion last night. In fairness to the player, Celtic found themselves penned back for much of the game by a Cluj side who really needed the win, but it was a game in which he ought to have been showcasing just why it is folly to leave him out.

Monday’s draw will be an intriguing one

Last night’s game was forgettable – Robertson and Dembele are the only two who will look back on it with any affection – but the hard work had all been done in the previous five games. The limp display last night was out of step with the aggression and energy that has been the hallmark of this campaign for Celtic.

A good night for Mikey Johnston

Johnston playing in the midfield hole just behind Griffiths was one of the few positive aspects of the night for Lennon. The teenager, a product of the club’s academy set-up, has intelligence, quick feet and an eye for goal. He came close to netting just before the interval when his effort from the edge of the box was deflected just wide but he was arguably Celtic’s best player of the night. While the out-and-out striker role of leading the line hasn’t worked, Johnston clearly has something about him. On a night when there was little of note for Celtic to cheer, Johnston could walk away in the knowledge he has made another positive impression.