Match Report: Celtic 1 Maribor 1

21
Aug
2014

Posted By kevingraham

Posted in Articles, Match previews

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By David Potter

This was a very satisfactory night for Celtic, but it is important, one feels, to keep our feet on the ground. This is only the foundation. We now need an attacking Celtic performance next Tuesday night at Celtic Park to build on it. A goalless draw or any sort of win will do the trick. There will be a huge crowd there, and our support will be vital as we approach what will be a very important game indeed.

But tonight’s performance was good, and gives us a great deal of confidence. What again struck the TV audience was Celtic’s willingness to get the ball, the appetite, the desire to play even after the equalizing goal went in. There was no sitting back and waiting for it to happen, as we saw in Warsaw. Rather, there was a genuine attempt to control the game. A great deal of credit must go to Deila and Collins for spotting this problem and for addressing it.

 

Apart from anything else, it has never been a Celtic characteristic to allow the opposition to dictate things. And how nice it was to watch a game, away from home in Europe, in which Celtic wore their traditional green and white strips! It is the most famous strip in the world, and the team tonight played in a manner that was worthy of it.

Full marks must also be given to the management for the signing of Craig Gordon. Who needs Fraser Forster when we have someone who is just as good? Craig did not grow up a Celt, but he is definitely a Celt now, already loved by the support. He had at least two excellent saves tonight and radiated confidence so that the equalizing goal did not immediately lead to a feckless collapse.

In the defence, if we did not realise that Denayer was an asset on Saturday, we do now. Clearly a young man revelling in his role, Jason must be beside himself with joy that he has come to Scotland, where glory and immortality beckon. Izaguirre was a little careless at times (he always is, I’m afraid) but no-one can deny his work rate and commitment. In midfield, Johansen was good enough, if still at the moment a little short of the dominant Bobby Murdoch type of midfield general that we need.

Callum McGregor continues to impress. It was a well-taken goal with much good work from Berget as well. Stokes looked good now and again, although he still has this tendency to be caught offside oftener than he should (is this a deliberate ploy in away fixtures in Europe to soak up time?) and Mulgrew had hard luck when his header was cleared off the line.

But enough of this game. The players deserve a pat on the back, but they must be reminded that the game must be raised still further fornext Tuesday. And another thing – the eye must not be taken off the ball at Inverness on Saturday. John Hughes’s side are, believe it or not, the League leaders! We must prevail against the Highlanders in the same way as we must defeat the Slovenians. Football is, after all, about momentum. Good results produce organically more good results. Let’s keep winning!

One Comment

  1. kevingraham
    Posted August 21, 2014 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Two evenly matched teams and a tie in the balance. I just wanted to be still in the tie by 10pm last night, so it’s job done.

    They will be dangerous on the counter. We will need to temper or natural forward instinct. Ronnie canny throw away the good work that he has done in this 90 mins.

    Though, my over-riding thought after the game was that we would enjoy the europa league as that was two decent europa league sides doing battle last night.

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