Sarajevo 1 Celtic 3 – Johnston leads the Way as we Won Away

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CELTIC survived an early scare to see off the threat from Sarajevo in the rainy Bosnian capital this evening. After falling behind to a shockingly indisciplined goal it took a moment of brilliance from young Mikey Johnston to turn the Champions League tie in Celtic’s favour.

From then on the rather rusty Scottish Champions never looked back and second half strikes from Odsonne Edouard and a cheeky back heel from substitute Scotty Sinclair – identical to the goal he scored against Aberdeen at Celtic Park last season – gave Celtic a well deserved 3-1 win on a dreadful surface against a limited side.

What positives can Neil Lennon take from the game? Well, the result sees Celtic through, next Wednesday’s match, barring a huge disaster, in now a formality.

Lewis Morgan and Scotty Sinclair impressed from the bench. Mikey Johnston looks a brilliant prospect and Ryan Christie looked lively in his first game since the grievous bodily harm he suffered in the Scottish Cup semi-final against Aberdeen.

The negatives? What was going on with the defence? Bitton failed to give Simunovic a shout and a needless corner was conceded. Scott Brown failed to deal with the cross and Odsonne Edouard was lost the bravery contest with the Sarajevo new signing to concede the opening goal.

Celtic had had a warning when James Forrest lost possession at the edge of the box and the home side broke quickly exploiting the weakness on the Celtic left back position. Scott Bain made the one on one save.

The goal lost was poor. Now Neil Lennon – and there is no Celtic site that has been more positive about giving him the job that The Celtic Star – spent the months leading up to tonight playing Simunovic beside Ajer at the centre of our defence which meant that that thoroughbred footballer Filip Benkovic was left in the bench.

Jonny Hayes had let no-one down at left back bit tonight he was benched.

So tonight we disregarded the tried and tested central defensive partnership for a mii-matched back four consisting of a central defender at right back, a midfielder who has hardly played in a year or so at centre half and a new signing at left back.

It was of course caused by Celtic letting Mikael Lustig leave – more a Lawwell than a Lennon decision, granted – but it was almost costly.

Anthony Ralston was left in the bench when all this was occurring, hardly a vote of confidence for the only right back at the club.

Boli Bolingoli hardly had a night to remember, and went off injured. If Arsenal don’t muster up the required £25million before the window shuts then it will be the best news of the summer.

But it’s early July, we have a 3-1 win away from home against the Bosnian Champions and the second round beckons. Can we sign a right back please?

Man of the Match – Mikey Johnston


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