Redskin

Dispiriting defeat, but Forrest gave glimpse of tantalising front three for Celtic’s future


Celtic’s second goal was very much the high point; Joe Hart’s speed of thought to kickstart the counter-attack, Kyogo Furuhashi’s awareness to play in Filipe Jota behind him, and Jota’s sumptuous finish into the far corner.

Also instrumental was James Forrest in his 105th European game for Celtic, and on his first start in any competition since August. It was his fabulous backheel volley from Hart’s kick that brought in David Turnbull to keep the attack alive, and his incisive pass to Nir Bitton which created the three-on-two which culminated in the goal. Forrest was not superlative in the defeat to Bayer Leverkusen, but he produced two moments of great quality in those moments.

It was just a shame for that exciting attacking trident — not to mention the Celtic support hoping for a famous win away at a very good side — that Ange Postecoglou’s substitutions did not work. The trio’s replacements in Albian Ajeti, Mikey Johnston and Liel Abada could not replicate their predecessors’ standards, and were desperately poor as options to receive possession from tiring defenders. Their timidity constantly invited pressure on the midfield and defence, and Celtic lost two goals and their famous victory as a consequence.

With major players still injured in Carl Starfelt, Christopher Jullien, Greg Taylor and Tom Rogic, the 11 players on the pitch by full time did just not quite have the quality to prosper. While the first 75 minutes was an illustration of the progress made under Postecoglou, the last 15 was a painful reminder that





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