Stephen Welsh reflects on ‘excellent’ first half after Bhoys frustrating draw in Poland

Celtic centre-back Stephen Walsh has praised his team-mates for a superb first half in Artur Boruc’s testimonial this afternoon as they raced into a 2-0 lead against Legia Warsaw – although admitted there were still improvements to be made as they let their lead slip in the Polish capital.

Goals from Reo Hatate and Daizen Maeda gave Celtic a very comfortable lead at half-time, with more goals thought to arrive given that James Forrest, Callum McGregor and Matthew O’Riley also hit the post.

Reo Hatete celebrates scoring the opener against Legia Warsaw // GETTY

That wasn’t to be, and a mistake by Cameron Carter-Vickers gave the hosts a lifeline just 41 seconds after the restart.

A goal by Portuguese midfielder Josue levelled the tie just after the hour mark, and the game petered out other than a half-chance for Mikey Johnston down the other end.

And Welsh praised his team-mates for their efforts in the first half where they dominated the European and Polish stalwarts for most of the half, although he admitted the side needed to get their performance “properly right” against Norwich on Saturday at Paradise.

“I thought we were excellent in the first half and could have scored a few more goals but they were good in the second half and I thought their early goal gave them momentum,” Welsh told Celtic TV.

“I don’t think we really got going in the second half so I think we need to look at that – making sure we are strong in both halves.

“I think the way we played and the way we were moving in the first 45 was the best we have shown and as I said we need to build on that and take that on.

“We’ve had a few games now and it’s just trying to get into a rhythm. I’ve played in most of them so that’s been good. We know the games will come thick and fast – we’ve got Aberdeen in 10 days – so we need to be ready to go.

“So I think we need to get it properly right against Norwich on Saturday. We need to put in a performance. I think we need to start games better – and that means both halves but once we start playing our football we do it really well.”

Postecoglou will know so himself, and whilst some players impressed on the day such as Hatate, O’Riley and McGregor, there are some who weren’t at their best and may need to improve ahead of the season.

On the whole, Celtic’s performance was exemplary and they had Legia on the ropes in the first half – it’s just a matter of doing that for the whole ninety minutes…

Norwich are the visitors to Paradise on Saturday at 3pm.

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