Change of shape secures win for Celtic

Celtic put one foot in the Third Qualifying Round of the Champions League last night with a win in Glasgow. Things did not start as they wanted though.

It was already widely known that Brendan Rodgers was without nine first team players. Defensive and attacking positions being our weakest areas.

There was still plenty of talent in the available squad to get a result against familiar opponents though. However, it would be the Rosenborg who would draw first blood.

After a surge forward by the repositioned Jack Hendry as far as the opposition’s 18 yard box, he lost the ball. Rosenborg quickly broke forward and after a series of unsuccessful blocks and challenges they scored.

It was a stupid goal to lose but a great start for the Norwegians. That made Celtic a little bit jittery for a while afterwards, but then things would change.

There was nothing totally unexpected about the starting lineup. What was abundantly obvious was that Celtic’s shape was all wrong from the start.

Tierney was static at left back, Forrest was in lost in the middle of the park, Gamboa was bombing down the right and Brown, Ntcham and McGregor were all over the place.

Brendan himself put his hands up to in the post match media conference that he got it wrong – fair play. However, he did change it eventually and that delivered an equaliser shortly before half time.

Edouard showed some calmness and close control to slot home from close range. Sinclair had threaded the ball through to him, but the space was tight and for a big guy he did very well to tuck it home.

The second half looked more like situation normal. Ntcham showed more presence and some delightful play outside the opposition penalty area.

He rinsed his oncoming challenger with a nifty piece of footwork, sidestepped him and curled in a belter. What this guy is capable of at this age is incredible at times.

Celtic continued to press and attack for the remainder of the game. The best was yet to come though.

A through ball from Forrest to Edouard found the Frenchman one-on-one with the Rosenborg keeper. He retained his composure and chipped it over the diving keeper to make it 3-1.

There would be no more goals in the game, but there should have been. Aside from what looked like a decent penalty claim on Ntcham, Celtic hit the woodwork countless times.

If it weren’t for the Norwegian’s goalkeeper, we could have been looking at a much higher scoreline. Celtic had too much in the tank for Rosenborg, but the home side didn’t really get under way until Rodgers changed the setup.

I don’t think it has harmed Celtic’s chances too much. A 3-1 lead is good, but a clean sheet would have been better.

On the plus side, we can score over there. And hopefully we won’t have a rookie official either which was glaringly apparent last night.

Inexperienced referees should not be allowed to officiate matches where so much is at stake. Wrong decisions in these matches can be financially costly for clubs.

Thankfully, Celtic came good and there were some notable performances. Gamboa was good throughout the game which makes you wonder why the guy has barely been seen in a Celtic jersey.

Overall, I thought the defence was good as well. Hendry had two carbon copy errors where he marched into the 18 yard box and lost the ball.

It wasn’t his 18 yard box, but it was the initial error that caused the goal. However, it is his first game at centre half and he will learn from those mistakes and it is his best position.

I think himself and Ajer had a decent game and long-term will do well. I don’t have any problems with them at this point, but we still require experience and seniority in that position.

Ntcham demonstrated his class once more. He also took his goal very well.

Edouard was such an important player in this game. He isn’t suffering from the price tag either.

For a big lad he has great control and balance. There were many reports comparing him to Larsson last night and even among those I was watching the game with as well.

It certainly was a Larsson style chip. Perhaps too early to be labelling the guy just yet though.

Eddy is establishing his own character and so far it looks pretty good for us. He is but one piece of the puzzle though.

We need all our players playing like that. We also need him to do more of the same next week in the second leg in Trondheim.

Hail! Hail!

Stevie Mac

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