Bayer Leverkusen manager, Gerardo Seoane, summed the game up, “We also made some mistakes, but we had [goalkeeper]Lukas Hradecky saving us, it was a sensational game from him.
“The victory was earned. Maybe the scoreline was a little bit too high, but we deserved to win.”
Celtic were back to their flowing best in the opening 25 minutes but confidence, composure and any chance of competing in the knockout stages of the Europa League evaporated when Leverkusen took the lead. The home side regrouped at halftime and again took the game to the Germans, but the unfortunate loss of a penalty brought that resurgence to a juddering halt.
It is a worry that the heads go down when a goal is lost; the same happened a week ago at Livingston. As well as everything else, a resilience gene is missing from this Celtic team.
We will know by Sunday evening the wisdom of playing Kyogo Furuhashi and Callum McGregor last night. Nothing was gained from their appearance. Kyogo was thrice through with Leverkusen keeper Lukas Hradecky to beat but could not convert. Still, his impact on Celtic remains transformational.
Leading up to his second great chance, he opened play up with a sublime touch that switched the ball to Liel Abada. No striker in recent Celtic history could do things like that. Jota continues to settle into his new surroundings. Leverkusen defenders quickly learned to back off him and to send reinforcements when the ball went to Celtic’s left. A front three of Jota, Kyogo and Abada has a great deal of promise.
Oh David, what happened? Turnbull seemed caught in two minds, between clearing the ball out of his box and allowing it to run out of play. Playground stuff that would have me overcome with paranoia if it happened in certain domains. I don’t think I have seen as poor a goal against Celtic, Leverkusen must have wondered what happened as much as the rest of us.
From that moment, the collapse seemed inevitable. Our full backs were well up field when 3 v 2 left Joe Hart exposed for the second; halftime could not come soon enough. Hart played well throughout, without him, our season would look in far greater danger.
Expectations were so low I think we had all emotionally factored a result like that in. Despite what in any language is a drubbing, we were able to create better chances (against a far better team) than we have in recent weeks. With Kyogo and McGregor back, the worst of this slump will be behind us. The return of Juranovic, Taylor, Forrest and Jullien will help, but central midfield will remain light until January.
The season could pivot one way or the other on Sunday, we will find out then if the corner has been turned.