I wasn’t nervous going into this match. As the second half progressed I began to get that horrible feeling.
You know the one I mean right? Where Celtic throw it all away?
As it turned out we didn’t, but Astana gave it a right good go. Celtic also helped them give it a right good go.
Up until half-time I was quite pleased with the flow of the game. After the interval Celtic were all over the place.
Gordon was flapping in goal, the whole defence looked rattled and the midfield (with the exception of Ntcham) were all over the place. The encouragement Astana were getting gave them a much needed boost.
Despite the narrow 4-3 defeat on the night it was of course an 8-4 win for Celtic overall. At 4-1 it was pretty nervy.
The bottom line is of course that Celtic scored more goals than Astana. It has also highlighted the fragility of our defence with key players missing.
In the group stage Celtic would have got slaughtered. With Boyata and Simunovic in there I would feel more comfortable but they still need backup or even competition.
Ajer may be a long term project, but Bitton isn’t. Despite a steady showing at Celtic Park against Astana, he was awful last night.
Bitton is a midfielder who is zero pace and likes time on the ball. Threaten that and you might just get yourself a goal.
Ajer will learn nothing playing alongside him in defence. Given the injury situation, these guys have had to step in, but I think Brendan Rodgers may have been pushing that a little bit too far last night.
He must now realise that to better last seasons showing in the Champions League we need to invest at the back as well as up front. The transfer window remains open and Celtic have sone money to spend.
Tomorrow we will learn our fate as the groups are drawn. Celtic are currently in Pot 4 with their only chance up stepping up to Pot 3 being a Liverpool defeat at home tonight.
I’m not waiting for that result. We’re going to get a tough draw be it Pot 3 or Pot 4 we’re in.
At the end of the day, we’re here to rub shoulders with the best. All I ask is to avoid some of the teams we’ve played too often like Barcelona.
I’d love to get an English club. Would be an interesting encounter.
We’ll see what tomorrow brings. At least we’re in the hat!