Positive signs despite defeat

It’s not often I watch Celtic lose at Paradise and think to myself “that was a great performance.” Well, last night was one of those rare occasions.

Playing against European giants has been a humbling experience of late. Barcelona last season and PSG this season as examples.

The body language cast by Celtic players  has been of a team demonstrating too much admiration for their opponents. There is something in the psyche about certain clubs that Celtic have had a problem with recently.

Against Bayern Munich in Germany it wasn’t quite the hiding that PSG inflicted in Scotland. The Germans were purring like a well tuned Mercedes at the Allianz Arena that night but Celtic had made an improvement in that game despite the 3-0 loss.

In second half of the double header at Celtic Park they now had to show they was progress and lessons learned. To believe in themselves and to take the fight to the opposition no matter how big a task it was.

And they did. Celtic were strong and on the front foot creating chances.

The coldness that rattled them in previous games was absent. Then Bayern capitalised on a slack piece of play between Boyata and Gordon which was duly dispatched with calmness by Kinglsey Comman.

Celtic were floored by the goal. Having played with such spirit and confidence for the opening 20 minutes, it was all undone in a couple of seconds.

It took them a good 10 minutes to get regain their composure. That allowed them to finish the first half with some positivity.

Eventually Celtic would get their reward. McGregor, an unsung hero for so long pounced onto Forrest’s pass and netted an equaliser.

Brilliant. Celtic had earned it.

Only a few minutes laters though Bayern were back in front. Bitton was outjumped by Martinez who nodded home an unstoppable winner.

Both players were bloodied in the process. Celtic didn’t give up though and rallied right up until the 6th minute of injury time.

My overall verdict of this match is similar to yours. We had to turn in a bettee performance against a far greater team and we did.

How Celtic played last night was close to our best. Mop up the mistakes and have your players on top form and you’ll make progress.

Aside from the first goal and Sinclair’s strangely absent performance Celtic were brilliant to watch. Tierney and Lustig were immense.

Bitton overshadowed Boyata. Brown was tireless, Armstrong was imposing himself and McGregor was worthy of his starting slot.

Dembele’s presence made validated his selection. Last night though the plaudits go to another.

James Forrest was outstanding all match. As frustrating as he can be at times, he reminded us of what he is capable of when he’s in the right frame of mind.

His performances this season have been better than Paddy Roberts’. Even if the injured winger had been available I would have gone with James.

He should watch this match over and over because he was running the show. Well done wee man, you were superb.

I’ll forfeit the PSG match now and hopefully no slip ups against Anderlecht next month. Europa League is our oyster for 2018.

Hail! Hail!

Stevie Mac

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