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Arrivederci Foro Mussolini

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This time yesterday, I was full of “Night without usual expectations for Celtic” chat.  Nothing in my years watching Celtic told me we were going to win on our Roman Holiday.  The opening 10 minutes did nothing to change this view.  Lazio scored within 7 minutes and within 8, they were back in possession inside the Celtic box.

The home side needed to win and were prepared to throw men forward in the opening period, which unsettled Celtic.  When Celtic were eventually able to get their passing game going, Lazio adopted a more conventional formation.  Had they continued to throw runners into our box, the outcome could have been different.

So many times after European games you and I have discussed the importance of mistakes in determining the outcome.  Commanding possession is all fine and well, but the team who makes fewest defensive mistakes are more often likely to win.

On 38 minutes Mohamed Elyounoussi lost, but then won back, possession, as Lazio failed to clear their lines.  His pass to James Forrest was too crisp to be intercepted, but James’ defensive marker took himself out of play by vainly attempting to steal the ball.  From that moment, the goal was inevitable.

James scored a similar and equally important goal in Champions League qualification in Rosenborg two years ago.  His shot inside the keepers unprotected far post was thunderous.  Celtic had a foothold in the game which would ask big questions of the team currently in a Champions League qualification spot in Serie A.

My heart was in my mouth only once, when the referee rushed towards Scott Brown while taking a card out his pocket, but the colour was yellow and Scott would remain on the pitch to complete a gladiatorial performance.

Lazio needed to win to give them a realistic chance of qualification and the closing 10 minutes of regulation time saw them again flood into the Celtic box.  Fraser Forster, who two weeks ago produced a Save of the Ages, this time produced three fine stops which would have beaten a lesser keeper.

The more Lazio pushed for a winner, the more space Odsonne Edouard was able to exploit.  The French striker was isolated for much of the two games against Lazio, but whenever Celtic cleared long, he caused the defence problems.  Set free by the impressive Elyounoussi, he had the best chance of the game, but pushed his shot wide of the far post with the keeper beaten.

Edouard had one more decisive action to come.  A careless pass, which should have gone across the Lazio back line, was intercepted by Odsonne, who had Forrest and substitute Olivier Ntcham in support.  Edouard drew the defenders before slipping the ball to Ntcham.

Think back to Blackburn 2002.  That through ball for Larsson, who drew the keeper and deftly chipped the ball into the net.  17 years later Ntcham did the same in the most impressive cameo since Hitchcock folded his canvass chair for the last time.  The Romans were in ruins.

Let’s be clear about the magnitude of this win. Lazio are currently strutting through Serie A and played their strongest team last night.  They have not lost at the Stadio Olimpico in all competitions in over six months.  Six months!  The former Olympic stadium is part of the Foro Italico complex, originally known as the Foro Mussolini (Mussolini’s Forum).  The old fascist’s structure was turned upside down last night.

This is a very good Celtic team, perhaps the best we have seen since 2012.

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403 Comments

  1. Fred C 1.11pm

     

     

    👍

     

     

    That’s when you know the champions will soon be kicking off

     

     

    Forster

     

    Frimpong Julien, Ajer, ?

     

    MacGregor Broony

     

    Forrest Christie Elyounoussi

     

    Edouard

     

     

    ? = Taylor Bolingoli or Jonny H

  2. Marspapa-you sound like you had a great time mate👍

     

    AOW-heart warming wee story about your dad👍

     

    Just about to get my dad and head in to paradise 🍀

  3. Gers and Livi a 3pm kick-off? that’s some mighty change. Stevie G must have some influence. i was all set to watch the game at the usual mid-day slot. Neil now it’s up to you to get a time change after Celtic’s next contintental tour.

  4. Pretty sure the huns won’t have a say in KO times,think that’s down to sky wanting to show all games today

  5. I have a subscription for Celtic tv but as I live in Ireland I can’t watch the game live today. It seems sometimes (live games at Celtic Park?) there is a pre match programme available to ALL subscribers is that the case and how do I find it Celtic tv is really difficult to navigate. Thanks!

  6. marspapa its located next door to the barleycorn if you pick it up and let your good lady try it out (cos they’re not for everyone) give her a few days to adjust to it AND you’ll get to see the belter (white boxer dug)

  7. CELTIC: Forster; Frimpong, Jullien, Ajer, Hayes; Brown, Ntcham, McGregor, Forrest, Elyounoussi; Edouard.

     

    Subs: Gordon, Taylor, Bitton, Bauer, Morgan, Christie, Rogic

  8. Iron Horse, Iron Bird, Emerald Express, Doors to Automatic, How I envy ye ghuys. Anyhow it’s comfy armchair for me and a prayer that my Celtic TV works.

  9. Canamalar it looks like OCD obsession on

    How will the Plc justify not broadcasting Celtic TV to Ireland after brexit

  10. Canamaler

     

     

    Good question! Hopefully it will be answered unlike all the other questions ive asked Celtic tv about the broadcast blackout to Ireland. I do get responses just the same one ‘considered the same area for broadcasting purposes ‘.

     

    Any ideas about pre match programme availability today for Celtic tv?

  11. When it comes to tv revenue Scotland is certainly considered a ‘different area for broadcasting purposes’

     

    Hence the plight we have trying to compete against teams at the bottom of the mega wealthy premier league.

     

    Indeed two of our finest players this season are here courtesy of a loan from a team struggling in englands top flight and even taking 9.0 hammerings!!!

     

    Not good enough for the southhampton squad?

     

    You would/could not predict this 30 years ago.

     

    Makes me laugh when I see UEFA harp on about financial fair play mince.

     

    What about geographical fair play?

  12. Thursday night just gave us a glimpse of the potential we have.

     

    Working on a fraction of the big teams from the big leagues we have shown what is still possible.

     

    Imagine a level financial playing field?

     

    We would have them all running scared.

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