CELTIC were simply sensational in the first 45 minutes at Celtic Park this afternoon, totally blowing League leaders Leicester City away with four wonderful goals – and it could have been more!
Kieran Tierney was missing from the squad due to illness and that meant Emilio Izaguirre started and it looked like the perfect occasion for him right from the kick-off.
Steve Clarke had gone 4 games without defeat against Brendan Rodgers but by the time he heard the half-time whistle his side were punch drunk after taking blow after blow from an exhilarating Celtic team playing wonderfully.
Emilio swept a brilliant cross into the danger area from the left touchline and James Forrest sprinted from the right wing to get in front of a surprised defend to meet the ball first time and sweep it into the net. Sensational!
Tom Rogic had two decent chances to double the lead in the next ten minutes but each time he was denied by Bachmann in the visitor’s goal.
Then Odsonne Edouard had a few opportunities, one after an excellent interchange with Scotty Sinclair, but he dragged his shot wide.
But it was third time lucky for the young French striker on 23 minutes when after more Celtic pressure he blasted into the roof of the net to double the lead.
And it got worse for the visitors ten minutes later when Callum McGregor floated and free kick into the box and Mikael Lustig used one of his “gone” legs to poke the ball into the net.
And the goals kept coming every ten minutes and this time Christie wrong footed Bachmann to make it four.
Celtic were giving a rousing standing ovation at the half time whistle and if they play like that on Thursday night Salzburg could be in for a fright.
The visitors somehow managed to draw the second half one each, thanks to a huge amount of luck and another Honest Mistake. From high up in the North stand it was apparent that the challenge was outside the box but the spot kick was given, taken poorly and Craig Gordon will be kicking himself for letting the ball go underneath him. There was no contact, the player dived and it all happened outside the box.
At the other end Forest hit the post, Sinclair smashed one of the bar. After a brilliant run he just failed to concert what would have been a contender for goal of the season.
The same player was brought down on 67 minutes and while there was no whistle the referee could well have been playing the advantage and James Forrest smashed the second ball into the net.
Brendan with Thursday in mind took off Rogic, Christie and Edouard replacing this trio with Ntcham, Brown and Griffiths.
The home form continues to be 100% in terms of results and entertainment.
A word on Leigh Griffiths. A wee boy ran onto the park when the players were doing their usual ‘lap of honour’. He asked the Celtic striker for his shirt and Griff was happy to oblige. Some jobs worth tried to intervene and grab the wee fella. Griffiths was having none of that, freed the boy and got him safely back to the North stand.
Man of the Match – the sponsors gave it to James Forrest and that is fine but Scotty Sinclair, Callum McGregor, Mikael Lustig could all have been in with s shout. We’ll go for Emilio Izaguirre though.