Celtic 3 – 2 Lille
In the spirit of the season,I bring you tidings of gladness and joy. Yes,that is correct,a match review from me with a smile on my face. Or even me having a smile on my face,both are rare events. But last night may actually have been something special.
Now,don’t get me wrong,there are many problems at our club and they haven’t disappeared on the back of one result. But last night saw us put out what was effectively the stiffs,and against a team who are pushing PSG hard in France and who needed to win to top the group,and we beat them. But this wasn’t a 2-1 v Barcelona type result,this was a case of matching up against them in every area all night.
And that is what the most pleasing aspect of it was.
Conor Hazard told his defenders what to do all night,even to the extent of telling them to cover a small area of the goal at a free kick as he was confident of the rest of it. Our back three,with Duffy back,looked a lot more composed-even if not all of the time. We played with an initial middle three of Turnbull,CalMac and Soro-and they looked as if they had been playing together forever.
Bit strange up front,as both of our strikers come in from the flanks-and so do our wing backs!-but Laxalt dropped back,Frimpers got one kick too many and Klimala finally ran out of steam.
The removal of our wee punchbag saw him being replaced by Ewan Henderson,and he certainly didn’t let us down. That midfield four of Soro CalMac Ewan and Turnbull looked balanced and primed,and they certainly delivered. I hope it gave NL food for thought.
And David Turnbull it was who provided the assist for the first goal in a frantic five minutes halfway through the first half. Plum onto the napper of Chris Jullien,and some of us crept out from behind the couch. Terrific corner,great header,I wonder why we hadn’t thought of it before. But just as we were rubbing our eyes in disbelief,well…
CalMac frankly selt the jerseys-and I’m rarely critical of him as you know. I do not know what he thought he was doing,but he left the defence up shit creek. Heyho,we are used to these things. Down go the heads.
Not a bit of it! Straight up the park,Frimpers gets done from behind in the box! Great play from the wee man,and the worst thing that happened to Lille all night. Not only a goal down to the penalty-with CalMac atoning a tad for his earlier error,which must have still been fresh in his mind-but also led to the introduction of young Hendo.
(Now,many of us have witnessed this young fella in the past and wondered why he cannot get a game. And many of us have a valid point. But it’s a fact that he is still only 20yo,and the likes of CalMac,Christie,Rogic weren’t regulars until a few years older. About the same age as Soro is now,in fact. Which might be a point to ponder,Neil,given how many gifted youngsters we apparently have)
And so it went on for the half,with us holding our own,playing with much much more fluency than normal,playing with a belief which has been lacking for way too long. And dare I say it,with a joy as we did so. Or maybe that was just me!
The second half was what European nights at Celtic Park have been like so often over the years. Tense. We knew we needed the next goal,we also knew we didn’t want to concede the next goal. And just as maybe legs were understandably tiring from players unaccustomed to a match night,we fell asleep at a corner. Of all people,it fell to Timothy Weah. No harm to the lad,but he did eff all else all night. So job done then,that’s not a bad return for a striker!
So that’s us back to another Celtic Park standard of biting the fingernails-except not so. Last night was about a lot more than the result,and even if we had lost after that,I think we had got a lot more from it than in the last two months or more. I had seen a back three that seemed to be working at last,some pace up front and some positive link up between the departments. Not to mention some superb performances from so-called fringe players. Quite honestly,even a hardened and dyed in the wool mineshafter like myself would have been enthusiastic about last night had Lille scored the winner.
They didn’t. The Man of the Match did. David Turnbull,after a great run down the right from Ajer and a lovely ball into the centre of the box. I’d say he made himself undroppable last night. That remains to be seen. But those lads did us proud,but more than that they did themselves proud.
Above article by BMCUWP
Btw,the pitch is in a shocking state. Just saying.