Let’s get the negatives out of the way. Lou Macari is one of the greatest human beings to pull on a football jersey, but for a while he carried a heavy load. He was left on the end of a wall for a free kick in Argentina 1978. Cubillas struck, ex-Celt Luigi winced, and future-Celt Alan Rough didn’t get across his goal. Lou was blamed, relentlessly.
Martin O’Neill’s halftime analysis of the Feyenoord opening goal was correct. It was the Macari incident all over again. The wall was wrongly setup, with Kyogo on the end that the kicker was bound to aim for. Kyogo turned his back. Go watch some primary school football and you will hear the chorus “Don’t turn your back” when inevitably a kid does likewise. Honestly, Kyogo!
The kick was fully 30 yards. Even without a wall it should have taken an exceptional effort to beat Joe Hart. It was not an exceptional effort. The ball bounced before reaching the goal, which made it difficult for Joe to read, but he was slow to get across.
Gustaf Lagerbielke put his arm across an attacker inside the box. The attacker fell ‘wounded by a sniper style’, resulting in a second yellow for Gus and a penalty, saved by Hart. Sure, it was harsh, but it was an unnecessary risk. Learn from it, Gus.
There is plenty to admire in Odin Holm, a 20-year-old with talent and without fear of consequence. Consequences of his actions finished Celtic last night as a correct straight red reduced us to nine men.
With the game still there to be won, I was frustrated at the number of misplaced passes in the middle of the park. Misplaced passes should happen in the final third, when you take risks to create a goalscoring opportunity. If they regularly happen during the transition phase, they drain momentum. We could have been more patient in the build-up.
Short of that, across the spectrum of Champions League defeats, this one was different. There is a clear feeling that points were left on the table. Celtic were a match for Feyenoord for 46 minutes.
Alongside Maik Nawrocki at Kilmarnock, then partnering Liam Scales at Ibrox, Lagerbielke looked like the junior partner. This was not the case last night. Until his dismissal, he was comfortable at this level, perhaps our best defender. Liam Scales again grew in stature. It is difficult to imagine he is the same player who struggled against St Johnstone last month.
Reo Hatate’s return to the starting line-up had a lot to do with how comfortable Celtic were on the ball in the opening period. He took possession, always with at least one defender, often with two and on occasion, with three, in close proximity. This allowed space to open for Celtic to build out of defence and was crucial to our play.
The same player made the wrong decision at Celtic’s best chance. Kyogo had space and was flying towards goal on his right, when Reo hit a shot against the defender in front of him. Our other great chance saw Daizen Maeda withstand a last-defender-assault to force a good save from the keeper. A Feyenoord striker would have collapsed instead, and perhaps Celtic would have had a man advantage.
Opportunities to pick up points in this group will be rare, so that was definitely one we let slip. Still, I expect Celtic to win the return game on Match Day 6.