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“NIL NIL NEVER TOO BAD IN EUROPE, NOW WE CAN GO THERE AND WIN,” RODGERS

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CELTIC 0 ROSENBORG 0

CELTIC are on the Champions League tightrope after a frustrating stalemate against a well-organised Norwegian outfit at Parkhead tonight.

Brendan Rodgers’ men now face a nervy 90 minutes in Trondheim a week tonight as they attempt to reach the play-offs.

It was a difficult evening for the Hoops throughout against dangerous opponents who absorbed pressure and were clever in their forward thrusts.

In the end, Craig Gordon was forced into making a couple of crucial saves in a dramatic evening in the east end of Glasgow.

It looked as though it was all going according to plan in the ninth minute when a fabulous through pass from Olivier Ntcham opened up the visitors’ defence.

Stuart Armstrong had a shot blocked and Tom Rogic, following up, had an identical fate. It was a moment of danger that could have brought the breakthrough goal.

The Hoops dominated the early play as they pressed, but there was no doubt they missed the presence and menace of Moussa Dembele and Leigh Griffiths up front.

Kristoffer Ajer, in for the injured Erik Sviatchenko, and Jozo Simunovic were given time and space at the back to build attacks with Mikael Lustig and Kieran Tierney flying down the wings.

However, the Norwegians were resolute as they went about their business as Celtic attempted to capitalise on their superiority.

They also showed what they could do on the counter-attack when Bjorn Konradsen nicked the ball off Scott Brown, but his raging drive was tipped over the bar by Craig Gordon.

Celtic responded with an attack on the left instigated by Tierney, but James Forrest was slow to react to the heading opportunity and the chance was lost much to the ire of the home support.

The first-half ended goalless and was largely one of frustration for Rodgers’ men after having the bulk of possession, but precious little penetration.

Andre Hansen, in the Rosenborg goal, hadn’t had a question asked of him in the first 45 minutes and, to be fair, his well-organised defence deserved credit for their efforts to keep the Hoops at bay.

Eight minutes after the interval, Gordon was called on to make a smart save from a free-kick as the Norwegians again showed their threat on the break.

Just before the hour mark, the anxiety levels were rising when a Ntacham header found its way to Forrest, but the winger, struggling to get into the pace of the game, harmlessly shot wide of the upright.

Moments later, Rosenborg missed a superb chance when the dangerous Yann-Erik de Lanlay scooped the ball over the bar after being set up by Nicklas Bendtner.

In the 63rd minute, Rodgers replaced Ntcham with Jonny Hayes who went straight into the main attacking position.

Celtic raised the tempo and Forrest had the fans on their toes with a flashing drive that zipped wide of the post in the 71st minute.

Bendnter then missed a reasonable chance for the visitors before Armstrong came close at the other end. The game was see-sawing which must have been a concern for Rodgers with some uncomfortable moments for the treble-winners.

Kundai Benyu then made his appearance as a substitute for the toiling Forrest as the Hoops made a late bid to get the all-important goal.

Scott Sinclair, too, was finding it difficult to make any headway against a rearguard that went about their job with a verve and gusto.

Gordon made a crucial save with his legs right at the end and it was an escape for the Hoops.

Now their European hopes depend on a good performance in Trondheim next week. It’s not ideal, but it’s still all to play for.

TEAM: Gordon; Lustig, Simunovic, Ajer, Tierney; Brown, Armstrong; Forrest (sub: Benyu 81), Ntcham (sub: Hayes 63), Sinclair; Rogic.

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