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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. Rock Tree Bhoy on

    Tierney on the bench for Arsenal v Leicester at Leicester – is their manager still protecting him I wonder, fair doos if he is but if KT is fit then he should be playing. KT sitting watching BR’s team playing against his new team, must be very frustrating for him.

  2. Rock Tree Bhoy on

    We should find a place at Celtic for Chris Sutton – it great to see him standing up for us against the likes of a sneering Savage, Ince, Owen. Ince did embarrass himself, comparing the standard of Scottish Football to English League 1 – looking round for support from his English team mates – what EL1 side could win home and way against a Top Italian side I wonder. Cant understand why they wont give us credit when it’s clearly due.

  3. CELTIC star Hatem Abd Elhamed sparked fears of a long injury lay-off after revealing he’d had “bad news” following a scan.

  4. Ince – remember a men against Bhoys comment by Souness (another horrible Cnut)

     

     

    League1 aye right Ya wee fud.

     

     

    HH

     

     

    D. :)

  5. I know the weather is bad but is it that bad that an idiot wind blew in Paul Ince?

     

    So thick that on the few times he has embarrassed himself by appearing on MOTD he struggled to string more than a few words together. Who in their right mind would hire him at any level far less listen to him?

     

     

    notmecsc

  6. theBHOYfromU.N.C.L.E on

    Watching the great british break off………..Judd Trump cooking with gas.

     

     

    snookerisaloadofballs csc

  7. Bring on the Motherwell

     

     

    A good win, performance with a few goals please Lenny.

     

     

    Keep momentum going into this wee break.

     

     

    COYBIG

     

     

    HH

     

     

    D. :)

  8. Art of War: lovely post last night.

     

     

    Looking forward to being in Paradise tomorrow. Early night & early rise for yours truly.

  9. Almore 9.17pm

     

     

    Safe journey and looking forward to your “on the iron bird” post :-) hope you can get us 3pts going into the international break

     

     

    Enjoy your trip

     

     

    Definite 2 changes tomorrow no more than 3…. not my words Neil’s words after not changing against Livvy

  10. Good evening, friends. Just one more sleep till we get to see The Champions play. I really hope that our fans remember just what we achieved 2 days ago. Players aren’t robots and there’s always the danger that tomorrow might be a bit of a struggle. We’re on a 6 game winning run since the last international break with scores of 6-0, 2-1, 4-0, 2-0, 5-2 and 2-1 so an aggregate score for 6 games of 21-4. If it wasn’t for the fact that I’ve bet us to win by 2 or more then I’d take a scrappy 1 nil win right now!

     

    ine there may be changes to the starting 11 but hopefully not too many. Candidates for coming in must surely include Frimpong and Taylor. Others, subject to fitness, include Rogic, Sinclair (great to see him as part of the joyous winning goal celebrations on Thursday) and Griffiths.

     

    Should be an interesting afternoon.

  11. Almore 9.32pm

     

     

    Posted many moons ago about Fred C posting on the “iron horse” being one of my favourite posts, also Jobos “doors to automatic” they are all as good as each other :-)

  12. GFTB: The Fans’ Café beside the Superstore.

     

     

    That’s my sound bite.

     

     

    No sign of the foundations being dug out yet, sadly.

  13. Almore – hope you drag a few of your Breakfast Club friends along to the ole CQN Corner tomorrow. Be good to put even more faces to monikers!

  14. Almore 9.59pm

     

     

    Peter Lawell will never build your cafe, he is probably raging the playing surface is only used every other week

     

     

    The Almore Cafe would only make money on match days am afraid .. but we can always dream

  15. Where do i start with that trip to Rome with my daughter Kelly … WoW just amazing!!

     

     

    Our flight to Stansted was delayed three times meaning we would miss the connecting flight to Rome as the gate closed at 7 and we wouldn’t land until 7-10.

     

     

    The sight on some of the faces in the airport as 40 CELTIC fans rampaging;)) / running towards gate 49 i won’t forget in a long time .

     

     

    Got to gate 49 at 7-25 , fortunately the young uns had warned them there were another 20 or so fans still to come .

     

     

    The flight left at 7-35 to a chorus of fans coughing up their lungs :))))

     

     

    Missed the mass in the morning but got there in time to meet BLANTYRETIM outside with his lovely daughter M.

     

     

    He took me inside and introduced me to CONNAIRE 12, so glad i could thank him in person for the exchange of emails regarding LOURDES.

     

     

    This guy latched onto to our we group heading to the Piazza del Popolo [spelling) for a drink and a bite to eat .

     

     

    We went to the….. Trevi Fountain, The Spanish Steps and passed by many places of interest on the way to the Twin Churches were we would sit in the glorious sunshine watching the world and Celtic fans resplendent in our clubs colours , drinking merrily from glass bottles with a watching Italian police force

     

    happily take it all in their stride .

     

     

    The guy who latched on to our group had an amazing wealth of knowledge all things Italian and his input made my day in Rome ……the guy was our very own …BRTH thanks again Jim from myself and kelly .

     

     

    From there it was uphill to the park for the wagon train……. 40 buses lol.

     

    Our we group BLANTYRETIM / daughter, myself/daughter , Gordon/daughter and Keiran a lovely kid training to become a priest were first on the first bus .

     

     

    i thought the tyres or suspension would give on the bus even before we left the park such was chanting and bouncing (exuberance) ;)))))

     

     

     

    ” WERE ON THE ROAD AGAIN” Police outriders and police riot van back and front gave us an unInterrupted ( all streets cordoned off and every traffic light on red ) escort to the stadium .

     

     

    Lovely entrance leading upto to the stadium, all this time songs belting out the bus , arrived 3/3 and a half hours before kick-off… I THINK LOL.

     

    Triple searched , no problem were in …..ya fekkin beauty :)))

     

     

    Stadium similar to Hampden as in the race track round the park , we were in the top tier section , to the left of our fans behind the goal .

     

     

    The game itself …first ten or so incredibly nervous , to be expected .

     

    Ten fifteen minutes in the second half when they came at us and we sat deep was nerve wracking .

     

     

    The rest of the game i thought we were awesome , controlled an Italian side doing well in Serie A.

     

    if they had got anything from the game it would have been a travesty.

     

     

    CALMAC is the Scottish Iniesta … love the bhoy.

     

     

    Celtics history playing out on the big Screens after the game was a touch of class .

     

     

    Leaving the Stadium we decided to get out of the police zone and get a taxi …home in fifteen minutes to our hotel were there was a few sherbets partaken :))))

     

     

    A friend who was going to the game didn’t know his seat number so we decided to call one another once we were in , couldn’t get a hold of him:(((

     

     

    Until to my utter amazement who was the guy standing in front of me ……..YIP my friend , and yours from this community….. GUTTENBERG

     

     

    Truly wonderful trip all because my daughter thought her dad who has been a supporter of Celtic since 1964 deserved his fifteen minutes of fame if you like .

     

     

    I hope others post and do the experience justice .

     

     

    Ps… the Police , the fans and the team were fantastic ….but i have to admit I shed a tear for our Gaffer , NEIL FRANCIS LENNON , regardless what happens next , to me he is a SUPERSTAR

     

     

     

    PPS … ALL IMHO ;)))))))

  16. MarsPapa, great post.

     

    BlantyreTim, great post

     

    Art of War, great post.

     

     

     

    Thanks for sharing those experiences Ghents, enjoyed reading back on those.

     

     

    Great times Tims!

  17. GFTB: Build it and they will come. My first visit to Paradise saw me buying a white jersey with a green and (separate) yellow strip across the front of the jersey circa 1995. Now we have a SUPERstore.

     

     

    Jobo: Will do my best.

  18. MARSPAPA – the best post you’ve ever composed. The excitement and joy is oozing through your words. What an experience! Speak soon, my friend. HH

  19. Magic Marspapa. Now just tell us about when N’tcham put the ball in the Lazio net.

     

    Quite seriously I have a history of going light headed in moments like that, & while all the world is going mad, you could find me sitting trying to stop the dizzyiness.

  20. AoW last night

     

     

    Marspapa tonight

     

     

    Anybody that thinks CQN is on a downward spiral … dream on

     

     

    Maybe less posts … but that’s because we as a club are doing so well … it might not always be as good so appreciate what we have

     

     

    Celtic …. more than a club ??

     

     

    Who knows but the Celtic stories are pretty special …

     

     

    To quote Greenpinata (?) the journey continues

  21. Marspapa, marvelous post.

     

     

    Sounds like a magic trip with many highlights.

     

    BRTH, Whits he like? 😁

     

     

    As for BT, absolute gentleman.

     

     

    Just wondering where you his your flare if you were searched 3 times, lol.

     

     

    I hope others follow your brilliant example and post of their time in Rome.

     

     

    I absolutely drink it in as the fan experience is the thing we all have in common and how we are treated is always worth hearing.

     

     

    Thanks again Marspapa!

  22. THANKS GHUYS

     

     

     

    +

     

    CORKCELT

     

     

    Never saw Ntcham strike the ball , was jumping up and down with the fans roundabout me in anticipation , the guys in the row behind lurched forward arms over my head and face as the ball hit the net …..cue an explosion of delight , delirium and defiance ……goosebumps now thinking about it

     

     

    The day from start to finish was filled with the full song book with one exception , never heard SIPSINIS favourite CELTIC song……..BROAD BLACK BRIMMER .

     

     

    Anyhoo, that’s enough from this aul duffer . Good night , God Bless.

  23. “Broad Black Brimmer”

     

     

    One stadium it was always sung every verse was when Celtic fans had the Beech End at Pittiodrie …