Gonna Need A Bigger Squad!
It must have been bitterly cold at Celtic Park last night,but there was plenty of excitement to keep the blood coursing! Like all of our Europa League group stage matches,this was a real rollercoaster. It was a dead rubber,of course,due to squandering our lead late on in Leverkusen two weeks ago,but beating the team in third position in La Liga suggests we are getting there.
AP made a raft of changes becuae of the hectic schedule we face in the next 25 days,which includes another seven after last night. He gave a chance to a number of the squad players,and also to a number of the youngsters. I have to say that Shaw and Uroghide particularly impressed me,Scales is improving with every game,and Abada,who went missing for a while,really stood up when it counted. Welsh is becoming Mr Dependable,and even scored the opener before most fans were in their seats!
That plan went out the window about midway through the first half when Ajeti chased down the keeper and pulled a hamstring. Of all the players we wanted to rest tonight,I’d say that Kyogo was probably the most important. As he was the only striker on the bench,AP clearly felt he had no choice.
I’m not so sure,there was the option to use Johnston through the middle. The gamble was a big one,all the more so when Kyogo seemed to suffer the same injury as Ajeti. Betis had just equalised,there were twenty minutes to go,and we were running out of options!
No panic,Ewan Henderson came on-and scored right away! Naturally,he was delighted! Naturally,we let them break up the pitch to equalise again. Both goals were subject to VAR checks,as was our third from MJ-which was harshly ruled offside-and the winning penalty,awarded for a lunge on the breaking Abada-which went in our favour.
DT made no mistake from the spot.
There were more injury concerns though,with McCarthy taking a heavy knock but having to play through it,and Uroghide colliding with Bitton as they defended a corner. Play was held up for treatment,which took about five minutes,and I’ll be surprised if they aren’t given a rest to recover from likely concussion. Both bravely opted to play on as we had used both our subs,but I would argue that the decision should never have been left to the players.
A terrific game,and a good scalp to take. But at what cost?
Above article by BMCUWP