It was Groundhog Day in the Champions League once again. Under Brendan Rodgers' stewardship the first time around, Celtic took a 7-1 pummelling in Paris at the hands of PSG in 2017. You can now add a 6-0 mauling in the Metropolitano to Atletico Madrid in 2023 to that unenviable Champions League group stage record.

Dark arts, gamesmanship, streetwise, a win at all costs mentality. Call it what you will. Certain clubs have it. Certain clubs don't. Atletico Madrid have always possessed multiple choice answer E - all of the above. You can like them or loathe them, and Celtic loathe them all right, Atletico know how to get a job done. They did in the European Cup semi-final back in 1974. Five decades on and it appears nothing much has changed.

If you can't beat them then sometimes you need to join them. Celtic have never indulged in the dark arts. Maybe they ought to start. Everybody else seems to relish being right in the referees face, asking for red cards, little kick-outs and falling down and play acting after the slightest touch.

READ MORE: Celtic's Rodgers accuses VAR of being like a 'computer game'

It doesn't do clubs like Atletico Madrid any harm. It's fair to say the Atletico Madrid players played their part in getting Japanese winger Daizen Maeda sent off midway through the first half which effectively ended this match as a contest. Mario Hermoso seemed to kick through Maeda who did catch him on the shin but it looked worse than it actually was. Yet there were seven players surrounding the referee performing the waving of the imaginary red card gesture. None of them were booked.

By then Celtic were already a goal down due to Antoine Griezmann's deflected strike after just six minutes in the Metropolitano in Madrid. Cue uproar from the players in red and white, uproar from Diego Simeone and uproar from the stands. That's when the histrionics started as the Atletico players surrounded Serbian referee Ivan Kruzliak who then ordered off Maeda on the advice of VAR after being cajoled to check the monitor by the home players. It smacked of a home town decision.

The more things change the more things stay the same. Atletico are past masters at intimidation and the application of pressure to officials. It's in their DNA as a football club. The hounding of Kruzliak continued unabated until the hosts finally got their wish.

Celtic have previous with Ivan, you know. Let's call him 'Ivan The Terrible' shall we. He certainly was for the Scottish champions. After all this is the same whistler who eight years ago landed Celtic a rap from UEFA as disciplinary proceedings were instigated after five players were booked and Dutch defender Virgil Van Dijk was sent off for Ronny Deila's men during a 1-0 defeat in the Europa League round of 32 tie against Inter Milan in the San Siro.

Celtic exited the tournament on a 4-3 aggregate but not before the ropey ref had done his best to upset the men in green and white. He was at it again here. Kruzliak certainly did Celtic no favours. Take for another example his booking of Luis Palma for complaining about a challenge made on Liam Scales. The yellow card now rules the Honduran out of the Lazio game in Rome on Matchday Five. For the heinous crime of speaking back to the official yet the Atletico players were allowed to bully him and surround him with impunity with no punishment meted out.

READ MORE: Celtic instant analysis: Rodgers' side soundly beaten in Spain

That's not withstanding the fact that in Griezmann and Morata the La Liga outfit sported two wonderful technicians. The Atletico duo were the architects, destroyers and tormentors in chief of Celtic on a night when a first ever historic win in Spain was doomed more or less from the off. A double for both players on another dismal and unforgettable night in the Champions League stage for Celtic set the stadium alight. It was another humbling and humiliating experience for the Parkhead side.

All the dark arts, streetwise, gamesmanship and win at all costs mentality would not have helped Celtic. Performances may well have improved in Europe for Celtic this season in the first three Group E matches but results are the currency...always.

This was Celtic worst result in Europe since November 2017 when they were hammered 7-1 in Paris by PSG. Sadly for Celtic, it's very much a case of Groundhog Day. It's been an all too familiar story at this level. 

The inquests will rightly focus on VAR and Maeda's red card in this match - the root cause of Celtic's problems run much deeper than that. The Celtic board need to shoulder a huge portion of the blame for this one and naval gazing won't quite cut it this time. Since his second coming Rodgers has banged on about bringing quality players into the club if they are to compete and make a fist of it at this level.

Did the Celtic hierarchy really back Rodgers in the summer and arm him to the teeth for an assault in this season's competition? The summer transfer window left a lot to be desired which is why the era of project players has to end now or results like this one will continue to be commonplace every season.

How many more sobering and embarrassing nights like the one will the men in suits and the directors upstairs be content to preside over in the Champions League on their watch? When will they learn to speculate to accumulate and give their manager a fighting chance by splashing the cash on the quality that he and the club desperately needs to be competitive in the Champions League arena?

Sadly watching Celtic in the Champions League is fast becoming a chastening as well as oft times embarrassing and above all else a wholly unenjoyable experience. Groundhog Day?

Celtic and their long suffering supporters have had their 'Punxsutawney Phil' of them.