Where do we start discussing last night? Perhaps the end of the night. There was joy in abundance, not only inside Celtic Park, but in the streets surrounding the game and in a hundred thousand homes across the world. This joy manifest itself into a great sense of community. That performance brought tears, hugs, spontaneous jumping up and down, and not only from Celtic fans. Messages have poured in from fans of other SPL clubs and beyond.
This is what great sport can do for people.
Brother Walfrid has excellent timing. He managed to arrange our kick-off meeting to coincide with match day four of the Champions League group stage. Those of us who attended the anniversary celebrations on Tuesday were reminded what Celtic is all about, the best team in the world were in Glasgow waiting to play, the fairy tale script was written, but could it be delivered?
It’s the details which are most impressive. Mikael Lustig looked like he could play in any team in any league. He was comfortable and composed throughout. Adam Matthews, deputising for an injured former Player of the Year, played out of position flawlessly. I watched him struggle at left back on his Celtic Park debut in a friendly against Wolves last year; it defies explanation how far he has progressed.
Please forget about Victor’s goal, it will only detract from his incredible midfield performance. His composure, skill and assertiveness troubled Iniesta and Messi all game. This was all the more impressive given the absence of captain, Scott Brown.
Georgios Samaras was crucial for most of the evening. He was the one player Barca seemed afraid of, although a lack of training caught up with him before he was subbed.
I’ll not burden Tony Watt publicly with the comparison I made of him earlier in the season but he possesses an impressive array of attributes: upper body strength, pace-with-the-ball and a nose for goal. I’m tempted to say he will continue to improve but, to what level? Without injuries to Hooper, Lassad and Forrest it’s unlikely he would have enjoyed as much time last night. Sometimes Fortune Favours the Celtic.
All of Europe would have been impressed with Fraser Forster last night, dubbed La Grand Muralla, the Big Wall, by a Spanish newspaper. He will play for England, so too with Kelvin Wilson if he maintains this season’s form.
The only man with a problem today is Neil Lennon. Tactically the two games against Barcelona have been as accomplished as any I have witnessed. Neil needs to know how to follow that in Lisbon. I’ve no idea.
Happy Birthday Celtic!
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