If Craig Gordon had the fortitude of his more vocal critics he would have crawled into a shell and you would be reading about a plucky Celtic defeat this morning. Fortunately for Celtic, Craig is grounded in solid earth.
He’s overcome greater challenges than his recent loss of form. Great to have you back, Craig.
Credit is due right across the back line, as well as to the goalkeeper, despite the loss of three goals. City have some of the finest attacking players currently plying their trade in Europe. A victory last night would have rewritten record books for English football clubs, but time and again Erik Sviatchenko and Kolo Toure timed runs, blocks and tackles perfectly.
I’m having trouble figuring out how Mikael Lustig can still put that kind of performance in. His fitness levels seemed to be inextricably heading south last season, but he’s back as good as ever. Kieran Tierney is that rare property, a left back with pace and endurance, who can defend and cross. He’ll continue to improve.
Tom Rogic was totally in control of what was an incredibly difficult area of the field to play football. Our performance levels followed the fuel in his tank. When he faded, we faded.
Brown and Bitton did very well too. Scott forced his influence onto the game in the first minute, which set the tempo.
I know Nir Bitton looks like he lacks urgency. In his own penalty area. With City players bearing down on him. On nights like this the easiest thing in the world is to play it long when under pressure. The hardest thing to do is to hold the ball, draw pressure but try to create space for others. It’s what the very top midfield players at the very top clubs do. You’ll remember seeing the same from Nir in the second half.
Hands up if you thought James Forrest had this level of performance in him? His timed run from deep at the opening goal was straight from the training ground, but executed perfectly. We didn’t get him into the game often enough, but his work off the ball created space for Dembele.
Scott Sinclair was another who put in a brave performance; brave in the sense that he held the ball often under intense pressure. He looks like he’s enjoying life in Glasgow.
And what of Moussa? I doubt any of us knew the calibre of player we recruited. It was a gamble for the club and for the player, but it’s paid off for both, and how. His first goal was fortuitous – no bad thing in a striker. His second belied his age. It was utterly gallus. No other word for it.
Well done Brendan. I thought you got it wrong in Barcelona but you went toe-to-toe against the top manager in the world, who travelled home with plenty to think about.
What a great phenomenon this whole Champions League business is. Even Newco earned around £500 from selling stadium tours to visiting fans. Happy to help, guys. High-fives all-round the city.
Thanks for the fantastic support for the Foundation ahead of the Great Scottish Run Half Marathon on Sunday. I’m now carb-loading for the first time in my life. It’s as much fun as it sounds. Any more help greatly appreciated.