T. S. ELIOT'S cruellest month may not have applied to the top flight of the Scottish football calendar. If Celtic are lucky they’ll still be in with a shout in April – but on current evidence, few would fancy their chances.

As September nears its end and October looms into view there is a feeling that it may well be definitive in whether Celtic’s season sags further or finds a way to recover.

The latter would appear unlikely without an earlier than anticipated return for Callum McGregor and Kyogo Furuhashi. Celtic look so utterly bereft without the two linchpins of Ange Postecoglou’s system that it is difficult to find evidence that would suggest there is scope for picking up the pieces of a month that has knocked the early optimism well out of the Parkhead side and ruthlessly exposed the brittle nature of their renaissance.

On balance they should have done enough to take all three points from United at the weekend - three times the ball came back off the woodwork - but the frailty of Celtic is mental as well as physical. The pheromones of unease waft off them to create a perennial sense of a team that is unsure of itself.

Indeed, there was something about Dundee United’s performance at Celtic Park that gave off the vibe of a team scenting blood, of spotting the weakness and vulnerability about their hosts. And little wonder - 10 points from a possible 21 is hardly the mark of champions.

With the draw went Celtic’s home record, their last line of defence for so long. As Bayer Leverkusen come calling on Thursday night – the German side moved into second in the Bundesliga at the weekend – there is little respite. The Europa League may seem like a secondary consideration to the need to get on a strong footing domestically but Celtic cannot afford to take another wounding result.

READ MORE: 'Celtic should have won' is becoming scant consolation as draw with Dundee United exacerbates poor league start

The weekend draw kicked away the home record that may have afforded some solace. This month holds league challenges that will offer an indication of whether Celtic can arrest the current alarming form. Pittodrie next weekend against an Aberdeen side who are deep in the mire too before games against an in-form Motherwell at Fir Park, St Johnstone at Celtic Park and high-flying Hibs at Easter Road.

With further injury headaches added to the mix at the weekend, Postecoglou’s biggest issue is the lack of personnel to change things. The loss of key players has been discussed in detail this past month but it has exposed the lack of nature of the depth within the squad – and the unreadiness of some players to step into the first team.

It should be noted that the inauspicious start to the season is in sharp contrast to where Celtic were only twelve months ago. Back then the unravelling began in October but Neil Lennon’s side had banked 25 points from a possible 27. This Celtic side have won just one of their last four league games and look increasingly rudderless.

If the answer to their current travails is easy on paper – win games, build morale, reliance and belief – it is far more difficult in practice. Finding a way, regardless of how easy on the eye, is necessary if Celtic are to stave off another winter of discontent.