Surprising Heroes As Celtic Beat Feyenoord. But That Was What We All Needed.

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And so it ends, another Champions League campaign for which we have taken unbelievable stick in spite of some good displays. We flirted with victory on several occasions and surrendered leads.

We had a disallowed goal against Lazio where we thought we’d won the match late, and then promptly flogged it at the other end of the pitch. Tonight, we’ve got the three points, and a lot of players can take a bow. They aren’t the ones we’d have expected.

Let’s do this first; Scales, Taylor and Hart were brilliant.

Lagerbielke turns out to be the hero though. He got the winner. He put the smiles on everyone’s faces after an exceptional piece of football from Matt O’Riley.

His cross was perfect. He could have taken the shot. (I wanted him to; he’d have won me £85 on a build-a-bet special.) Instead, unselfishly, he dinked it beautifully to the back-post and you better believe I danced around like he’d scored it himself.

The media’s stupid, meaningless, “ten years since” Champions League stat was preposterous.

In reality we were talking about three campaigns without one; we beat Anderlecht in the one they take as their starting point and we’ve done it here. So, they can put that one in the bin along with whatever headlines they intended before that winner.

I said before the game that there was more at stake tonight than a lot of people were suggesting. Pride, yes. But those four important elements I talked about; morale, money, calm and credibility. We are a long way from restoring the credibility but looking back you wonder.

Had we not gone down to nine men in Holland. Had Palma’s goal counted against Lazio. You wonder if we’d been able to cut out the daft defending at home against Atletico.

Fine margins. Just as we keep saying. A fully fit squad.

A couple of decent signings, ready for that level, and we might all be singing a different song tonight. The board should not get any alibis. They didn’t come even close to giving us the best chance to qualify; if this was a car-crash as a lot of people believe, that can be laid entirely at their door.

I am thrilled for the guys tonight, and for us as much as anything.

Because we needed this, by God we needed it.

We needed to put all those nonsense stats behind us and give us a lift going into the weekend. The club would have been rocked by a bad result tonight and we’ve averted that. We’ve done the job tonight, we’ve gotten the home win, we’ve picked up the three points.

I wish we were going into the Europa; that disallowed goal against Lazio cost us that, as I’m convinced, we’d have won that one but for that decision.

But the win is what mattered tonight, and for more than just pride.

We have the domestic campaign to focus on now and we must go all out for that, with the money on offer for that Champions League spot in the next campaign. Nothing less will be acceptable. No nickel and diming, no holding back. The Asian Cup puts a clock on us and we need to have all the pieces in place before we lose the whole front line of the team.

The board is responsible for us not progressing here. Had they made even the smallest effort, it might have been enough because the margins here were very small and that little push would have made a huge difference. They cannot mess up the rest of it.

Congratulations to Brendan and the team tonight. They did their bit.

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  • Gordon Raeburn says:

    Although the game did not mean a huge amount I was pleased to see that the players showed the effort missing from the second half at Kilmarnock. Also can anyone explain to me why Zerrouki and their captain were not shown red cards tonight. Useless refereeing.

    • Celticfcman says:

      Spot on with the reds. AJ gets booked with a light touch on opponent’s boot, and Kerouac stomped down on our Captain after already on caution. Plus the persistent fouling could’ve seen him sent off multiple times.

  • goodghuy says:

    Happy bhoy tonight.. o had that dread when they equalized and said “ oh god not again”, but the big Swede scored, so I’m as Larry the night. Like I said other day, Celtic will go on a run like they always do this time of the year, tails up now and better thoughts going forward. Don’t be surprised if the Dons win this Sunday as well by the way. Nice wee couple of million extra in the bank for that win tonight. COYBIG HH.

  • Fat mike says:

    What a performance from Stephen Welsh, months out, thrown into a champions league game and looked like the calmest and most composed player on the pitch in the first half. If every player on the injury list comes back like that we’re in for some month

  • Thomas Kelly says:

    The majority of your article makes good points, however your view on Taylor in my mind is way off the mark, every team we play knows he is the weakest link in our defence.

  • John smith says:

    Agree 100% with thomas kelly, Taylor is rank,,whoopee doo, another £2.5m in the boards bank,,,

  • Johnno says:

    Fine margins indeed James?
    Plenty of ways to view this CL campaign, but desperately needed that win in order to get that monkey off our backs, and finally it can be put to bed now?
    Remember you saying James that 4 points should be enough to get us European football after Christmas?
    Wasn’t to be all the same?
    Regardless, when you play in a mini league format like the group stages of CL, the margins for errors are so minimal, and we hardly helped ourselves in that regard with some of the very soft goals given away, especially with individual errors involved.
    Still went through the whole campaign with so many key players missing, and hardly in a position to afford such injuries at CL level either?
    Yet 4 points, twice as many as last season is certainly heading in the right direction, and in arguably a tougher overall group?
    Wasn’t impossible to have taken 4 points off lazio, which would have given a totally different complexion upon the outcome of the group also?
    Brilliant character shown tonight, and so pleasing to see, as could have ended up feeling sorry for ourselves and costing ourselves the game, but the will to win was still there thankfully?
    Think we deserved the victory, just over the course of the game.
    Rode our luck on occasions, but deserved some also.
    Created some good opportunities with lovely football and just missing the finish at times also.
    Overall, a very good night, and very much needed also imo.
    Possibly our weakest team played tonight in the campaign, and yet the deserved victory?
    Don’t say “it’s a funny old game ” for nothing do they?

  • Celticfcman says:

    4 points doubles Postecoglou, and Brendan did not have his players in his system yet. BR is a winner and all the foolish talk of firing him was unnecessary, to put it mildly. The beginning of a massive undefeated run that will continue well into next season. Double this time, treble next, quad in his final contract year. Commission the statue so it will be ready to unveil when he signs up for a five year extension, taking us to 10 in a row. Hail Hail!

  • Eldraco says:

    Why was that back post , back area unmarked again?. Who was awol again?

    And still still they persist in playing him

    • Hugh says:

      Don’t agree on this occasion although he has been guilty of losing his man at the back post several times in the past, we had the same problem with Emilio. He had to move in to cover the central attacker who dummied the ball to the scorer. Centre backs were pulled out. A problem lies more with our keeper, in these type of situations he has to close the player down the second he receives the ball, had he done this he had a better chance of the ball hitting him or not. Keepers who stand still allow attacker to pick his spot.

  • Fun time frankie says:

    Well said Thomas and John GT is the weakest link in the team ,almost everyone can see this.

  • James Byrne says:

    Taylor brilliant??? Your joking aren’t you. He’s constantly out of position, often found hovering about Centre midfield leaving a massive hole at LB

  • Bennybhoy57 says:

    Great game of football, with both teams going for it, Don’t see many dead rubber games where opposition goalie up trying to score in the 94th min.
    No doubt we beat pot 1 team last night, and for once in this tournament we managed to get a slice of luck

  • Gerry says:

    Well done Celtic…hopefully gives everyone a lift ! Even those amongst our fans, that love to criticise everything that moves.
    At this level it is indeed, very fine margins ! Who are to blame…the board, injuries to key players, poor defending/finishing, rank refereeing or just plain bad luck? Everyone has their opinion eh?
    Ultimately, that’s our European adventures ended, until season 2024/25. I’m sure our team can kick on in these 5 league games, If we win those and have a strong January window, we then put ourselves in a strong position to retain our title, and get back to CL. Then we can have the debate all over again ! Enjoy the moment!

  • Martin says:

    Fine margins, lots of times 4 points would be enough to get us the EL parachute. Not this time. Still, a win to end it.

    Psychologically this is very important, both for our December run in and next year’s European campaign.

    But is cannot be used as a reason for failing to sort things in the January window. Absolute priorities are a decent LB and a striker. A CDM would be great, but actually I’m less worried about that as through lack of game time and now this injury I can see Iwata being available during the Asian cup.

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