Last night, Celtic had to shine. And shine they did.
They didn’t have it all their way of course. Progress comes in stages.
Celtic had to weather the Leipzig storm on more than one occasion. This was, to a certain extent, the making of the Hoops though.
Having been pressed by the visitors for the opening 10 minutes, Celtic responded by scoring the opening goal in the 11th minute. And in the 78th minute Celtic conceded an equaliser only to go up the other end of the park and score the winner in the 79th minute.
This was a demonstration of character, determination with mental and physical strength at the heart of everything they did. Apparently this is a weaker Celtic team than last season.
Right now I’d say this group of players are showing attributes of a strong Celtic side. Last night they rose to the challenge.
Kieran Tierney scored the opening goal which was a key part in him winning man-of-the-match. However, Callum McGregor was a phenomenal presence, covering every blade of grass and was perhaps every bit as good if not better.
Leipzig found the net themselves much later on. A perfectly weighted cross was poorly defended by Mikael Lustig, a constant weak link on the night, and was hammered home by Jean-Kevin Augustin.
As was evident throughout this match, Celtic were not dead. 15 seconds after the restart, Celtic put together a passing move from the centre spot which resulted in a match winner, courtesy of Odsonne Edouard.
It was a euphoric moment. Celtic never seem to bounce back from these type of setbacks, but they did last night.
Even when Leipzig later slapped the woodwork the team dug deep. The belief we saw from the Hoops was encouraging and rewarding.
Celtic’s only weak links came in the form of vice-captain Lustig and Scott Sinclair. Sinclair didn’t start to badly, but as pointed out by a friend, Sinclair goes into his shell when something goes wrong for him and he did.
Lustig’s performance was somewhat different. He was getting roasted down Leipzig’s left flank and failed to cope with everything that came his way.
Next season Celtic will have to invest in that area. It is unlikely the Swede will be given a new contract or at least one that means regular football.
Elsewhere on the field every player was tireless. This was exactly what we needed from the team.
Ryan Christie continued to impress un central midfield. He even outshone Tom Rogic on the night with his work rate.
James Forrest ran himself into the ground. Craig Gordon was dominant behind his defence which, Lustig aside, was convincing.
Odsonne Edouard grew into the game after a slow start. He just got better and better and capped things off with that winner.
The players should be proud of themselves. We now have a fighting chance of qualifying for the last 32.
There is still much work to be done in the remaining two matches. However, had we not won last night the party would be over.
This was a point Brendan Rodgers tried to batter home to BBC’s Jonathan Sutherland. The Sportscene presenter chose to reflect on the negative instead.
It was Celtic’s night though and they should enjoy the moment. They rose to the challenge and got the result.
We build on that and face the next task. Away to Livingston at lunchtime on Sunday.
Well done Bhoys.