Brendan Rodgers rued missed chances, the concession of two cheap goals and some strange refereeing decisions after the 2-1 home defeat to Lazio in the Champions League last night at Celtic Park.
The Celtic manager, like the rest of us, reckoned that his side deserved more from a game where Celtic were the better side for large spells in the match before being hit by a double sucker punch in the closing stages, a VAR call to rule out what looked like a well deserved winner from substitute Luis Palma before Lazio stole the points in the 95th minute to break Celtic hearts with that looping header from Pedro.
Looking at the match highlights the two goals conceded are even more depressing that watching them last night at Paradise and one point on the offside call, not one single Lazio player raised a hand to call for that decision, have a look…not that that matters but it is incredibly frustrating nevertheless.
A word too on the pre-match music. On Champions League nights at Celtic Park there’s a well established script and the support delivers for the team on the park by creating what many believe is the best atmosphere in European football. That can spook the opposition and inspire the Celtic players, so why mess with it?
YNWA is always at its best on these Champions League nights yet incredibly Celtic invited talented young singer Rianne Downey, with her incredibly loud voice to come in and effectively steal the support’s thunder.
Traditionally the music is cut and the support takes over singing YNWA to the end and it’s magical, inspirational. 60,000 Celtic support singing their hearts out is a magical football moment with that iconic football anthem that no-one sings better than the Celtic support.
Dianne surely was told about the script and she could have simply let the support take over but instead she kept going and the moment was gone.
So something new was tried, it didn’t work and it’s another lesson learnt. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it! Let the people sing for heaven’s sake
Here’s what the Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers had to say to the official Champions League broadcast partner after the defeat which leaves Celtic bottom of Group E with no points after two defeats and with a double header against group favourites Atletico Madrid next up…
TNT Sports: What were your thoughts on the game?
Brendan Rodgers: “It was disappointing in terms of the result, of course. I was disappointed for the players as they gave so much to the game and they scored a fantastic goal. I’m disappointed with the goal we conceded. We came out in the second half and apart from one chance early on, we looked like the team that would go on and win it and we thought we had done.
“We were just unfortunate that Daizen makes a touch and it left Luis Palma offside. I’m disappointed with the winning goal. You just have to secure the game at that point. That’s just game management, you have to make sure you have control of the ball and the space before you vacate it. And just that one moment of quality with the cross and header sees us lose the game but I can’t fault the players for the effort and commitment we showed.”
TNT Sports: Did you miss too many chances?
Brendan Rodgers: “Yes. That’s something that’s important at this level. We get into some really good areas but that’s about quality and sadly we didn’t quite have it in certain moments of the game. But I can’t be critical of this group of players. What they’ve given the game against a good side with some top-quality technical players, we should have had more from that game.”
TNT Sports: What did you make of the referee’s performance?
Brendan Rodgers: “They’re not so good. There’s a lot you see now and in Europe, it’s a bit more precious even than the domestic game. I watched the Champions League games last night and obviously tonight, some strange decisions to be honest. I’ll focus more on the performance and the performance deserved something from the game. We didn’t quite get that but we’ll fight another day.”
TNT Sports: What’s the plan for progression in this group?
Brendan Rodgers: “It’s one where we’ll do what we’ve always done. We’ll analyse the performance and we’ll see where we could do better. We’ll be here again for Atletico to show the spirit and the fight. Let’s see if we can get a result then.”
“Just one moment of quality sees us lose the game…” 😶🌫️
— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) October 4, 2023
Join The Celtic Star at the Kerrydale on Thursday 19 October when we celebrate the launch of Matt Corr’s new book Majic, Stan and the King of Japan which tells the story of Gordon Strachan’s first season as Celtic manager. We’ll have the trophies that the Celtic team won that season plus well delighted welcome our special guests John Hartson and Stephen McManus, both stars of that Celtic team.
And we have other guests to be announced later this week plus there’s live music from the wonderful Boolavogue. Tickets are selling fast for what is sure to be a wonderful night of Celtic conversation and music and you can order below…