Two defeats for Celtic, now all eyes on Pittodrie

Strange times being a Celtic supporter.

Following a long period of total domestic dominance, it’s been a hugely frustrating stop-start campaign this season in terms of performances, culminating in the events of the weekend.

Add in the ongoing pandemic, which has prevented supporters attending matches, matches being played at all and now players appearing on the pitch, then it has really been quite a unique situation.

Last night, we saw both sides of the team. In the negative column, there was the curse of the type of soft goals which I have watched us concede in Europe for decades, whilst being positive, there was a spell in the second half where I felt we looked more like Celtic again.

Neil Lennon shared his thoughts and views post-match with Celtic TV:

“Well I’m disappointed. We’ve lost. It’s another defeat at home, which is hard to take. I thought we were good value for at least a draw, particularly on the second-half showing. We were a lot better tonight than we were at the weekend, better body language, better energy, better quality. I thought we started the game brightly and then conceded a really soft goal. That rattled us a little bit. And then to go 2-0 down was really hard to take at half-time, but the reaction from the players in the second half was superb. I thought we deserved something out of the game.”

“I think both the change of personnel and formation played their part. We couldn’t start Ryan tonight. He’s been out for two weeks. We’ve been wanting to maybe look at getting the wingers back into the game, but Jamesie’s still out long-term and Mikey’s just coming back from a long-term injury, so we’re a little bit ham-strung in that. We started brightly, I thought, the two strikers worked quite well. Griff tired and we decided to change things up a little bit. Getting Ryan on and getting Moi on made us look far more comfortable and Rogic coming on was a real bonus for us as well. I thought he played very well. I thought the impetus was with us, we just lacked that bit of quality in the final third at times. We’ve worked the ball into good positions, and our final ball when we did get beyond them was just lacking a little bit tonight. We have to get better at that at this level.”

“I never felt uncomfortable in the game. The manner of both the goals first-half was disappointing and something that we’ll look at, but I thought their reaction second-half and the will to win was there for all to see. It’s a defeat. We’ve got to take something from it and improve on that as we go along now – which we will.”

“It was markedly better than the weekend. It was encouraging. I don’t like losing but there were a lot of good signs for me. I wanted an improvement and we got a big improvement. Part of me is quite pleased with that. We could have shied away from it all after the criticism we have taken – and I have taken – but they showed their personality in the second half.”

The introduction of Ryan Christie and Moi Elyanoussi in wide-attacking roles in the second half certainly seemed to change the dynamic of the match, culminating on the Scot setting up the Norwegian for Celtic’s goal. Christie cut a frustrated figure afterwards.

“I think, probably on a different night, we could have pushed and got the equaliser. There was certainly a spell, for the last 20 minutes when it was 2-1 and I did feel that we were pushing, and they were under the cosh a little bit. That’s why it’s so frustrating, obviously, at the end not to get something, and then for them to nick a third goal at the end, that flatters them in ways. But we probably gave ourselves too much to do going into the second half.”

“When you start so well against teams like this, AC Milan, you have to keep the back door shut. You noticed that last year in the Lazio game when we played here at home. We started so well and still went in 1-0 down. It was strange but that’s what happens in European football when you come up against these great sides. They can play, even in periods out of possession and still be a threat on the counter-attack. It’s something you learn from. We’ve been in this competition many times and we definitely know this group isn’t over. It’s a frustrating start but we know we can go and pick up points elsewhere.”

“I did think we played better in the second half and had more chances in their final third. Moi came on and did really well. He gets the ball in little pockets, he’s so hard to defend against and he got his goal as well, so he can be a threat all over the park. I’m just annoyed for myself. Not to be able to get on the scoresheet and maybe nick an equaliser but there are positives to take from the second half. Obviously, we’re gutted to lose but there are positives to take into the weekend.”

“Personally, now, I can’t wait for the weekend. Having the time off was a bit frustrating, sitting on the couch watching the games, so I’m just desperate to get back playing as much football as I can, so I’m just looking forward to going up to Aberdeen and hopefully getting back to winning ways.”

So we move on to the next vital game in this season of seasons, the visit to Pittodrie for a Sunday lunchtime clash with a side who for most of the 9-in-a-row run has presented the biggest challenge to the Hoops.

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email

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