Arrivederci Foro Mussolini


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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  1. Gerry, I sent the 3 and already I know I’ve forgot a certain thing that…….






    who gives a



    We are Truly Blessed.



    Anger is an Energy.



    There are moments in Time.

  2. Petec 7.46pm



    There were plenty to choose from last night (& most games this season) I enjoy the varying Celtic opinions :-)

  3. Ernie 7.10pm & earlier today




    I might have missed your posts about the game last night as only dipped in and out due to work .. but earlier wee dig about Neil’s appointment and then your 7.10pm post which both are merited but if you didn’t know you’d think you were trying to steer the blog away from Lazio result and Celtic’s terrific performance last night … but I could be wrong







  4. Oli



    It was obvious that Neil asked Oli to stay forward as hard as it was to be and drop deep. He trusted his Back line Big Style. Olivier let players go for a Reason when he was on the pitch. MAGICAL Lenny BHOY.



    If the Dudes dinnae Believe Lenny is the Man now. LOL



    I’m Happy the Newco are doing well, F-ck the SFA.



    Hopefully over time the term Glasgow Derby will in turn become fact.



    Listen up and ……


    super ally on bt talks about ex huns with such authority.”yes when i had him at ibrox.”



    so just remind me how that went ally.

  6. Time




    More Questions than Answers.



    celtic more Questions than answers.



    It’s the Lord Almighty that Judges – I’m Sh!tting it. :((



    Always Forgive.




    Olde Rez Petec Jibber JJJJJabbberrr.



    The Best Ever Scottish Event.



    Callum Resigning IS MEGA.



    I stopped watching Barca when Xavi stopped playing.



    Callum – Bring on yer Brothers in Rhthym – DEEEEEELIGHTED ye are taking on the Impossible task of replacing the Broonstigator.



    Europe is looking Good for Celtic.

  8. Alasdair MacLean on

    Quiet one for me this weekend …. after last night and last weekend.


    So far anyway.

  9. Watching the Dundee derby,I have no idea how Shankland scores so many goals for United.Must be all solo efforts.Disgraceful service from a poor team.

  10. Alasdair MacLean,



    Can You Believe that workmates don’t Believe there is an afterlife.



    So Annoyed the Schools have done this to them.

  11. Alasdair MacLean on




    It’s the norm now.


    To be honest, apart from a few periods, I think it’s always been that way.

  12. Alasdair,



    The Word is Good.



    You should, whenever the opportunity arises, promote the Holy Book, go for it. You will get looked @ funny at times. Not in vogue.

  13. Apologies to the Vogue dudes as I reckon they are All Believers.



    I Know Nothing Howevaaaah.



    Virgin Trains are Sh!t to get a kip on.

  14. Philbhoy,



    Callum didnae make ma best 3 – he did though.



    Handing the baton.



    Broonie is the Ultimate Team Player.

























    Keep it as humble as possible – Lazio Beat Hame & Away it won’t be Easy.







    His Movement perpetual.






    He is the Main Man.






    5 YEARS he signed.




  16. Every time Broony gets written off he then does what he does … a few posters want him rested after Sunday he can have an International break rest, saw a post the other day about us going back in for Turnbull, I would in a minute, not for one second is he a replacement for our Captain but the Motherwell youngster has similarities you a young Hibs player we signed for £4.4m… in this day am age with inflation Turnbull could be a steal at half the price :-)



    By the way Scott Brown, like many great players before him grew into a Celtic great .. it takes a bit of work but he is living proof it can be done



    James Forrest CSC

  17. First look at Shankland.Bit of a diamond in poor game.Hold up play,and touch a delight,and scored a cracker.I know we are watching him,and must have been impressed tonight.He won’t be at United long.

  18. GFTB


    Sometimes they never fully recover,but the boy can really play.Last I heard it would be in the New Year before he was able to play.Could be next summer before he goes anywhere.

  19. TB 9.50pm



    Shopkeeper across the road is a season ticket holder at Motherwell and surprisingly him & his son would be happy for Turnbull to sign for us, if the bhoy fully recovers, which seemingly he should (only reading about others writing about the injury) sign him and leave him to get fit at Motherwell, again just thinking out loud … am pretty sure Neil knows what he will be considering, I love the fact we have the best Scottish players going with some pretty outstanding bhoys who aren’t Scottish :-)

  20. Breaking News….*****



    With the seemingly irreversible decline in Open University applications from followers of the Ibrox club,


    Television has come up with a new approach which should see the next generations glued to their television sets.



    We have asked for a comment from Edmiston Drive, but it is rumoured that they are fully occupied in trying to wrest the remote controls from the grasp of their progeny.



    We can’t think why?






    Hail Hail




  21. I hope the Green Brigade keep it to the Fitba with their Banners now.



    Rebels urnae gonnae?




    Whit ye fighting now?



    Rebel Songs @ Hampden Big Time Whilst the corrupt sh!t is going on, Celtic Park Celtic Songs Always.

  22. I’ll stab your arse.






    Ultras – No No – Go away.



    Celtic played the most offensive Fitba efter the Half Time Break…………. We didn’t need to.

  23. Owen…. :) :)



    I’m now going to have difficulty scrubbing the visions from my mind before I sleep!!



    Hail Hail




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