WOW!..talk about a Star-A Star-A night!
Im not gonna linger on the event itself as I am hoping to write up a piece later so lets just say WOW! again and get straight into the Ratings
Gordon – 8
Some folk ( ahem! – Ed) had been critical of Craig Gordon lately, especially in European games but last night all doubters had to say “Fairs fair”. The distribution may never be the necessary standard either in speed or accuracy but when your keeper can dive low and save a free kick destined for bottom corner or face\shoulder a diverted shot over the bar in the dying minutes then who cares about a punt to the sidelines now and again. Confidence will be boosted after playing in “The loudest game ever” according to the keeper.
Lustig – 7
Solid as they come and any doubts about his legs were calmed with excellent placement and speed of mind. Had a great partnership with Forrest and both never stopped all night. Deserves a rest for the Dundee game to recharge for Gladbach and beyond.
Toure – 8
Excellent game after a scary opening minute when this watcher though Man City were just gonna run away from him. The wise old Toure duly adjusted his positioning accordingly and was soon running the game from the back and even stepped up into midfield when needed. Great clearance near end and even nearly scored when getting stuck in after a goalmouth stramash. Great Twitter gag had him removing his keys, phone and Aguero from his pockets when he got home after the game which summed it up. That’s Aguero remember folks!
Seemed to be a little slow at times but given the speed the ball was moving that was understandable. Helped lessen speed of Gundogans shot on goal at the end with a sliding tackle which was then saved by Gordon and also helped make the first goal by heading ball towards Dembele at the clever free kick so kudos for that effort and nevr hid. Just needs to learn to kick the ball out the park now and again as inward clearance led to their 3rd goal but no one can complain at the overall effort given except Scott Brown who suffered at one instance when Erik came barging through him to ensure a Celt won a high ball in middle of the pitch.
Tierney – 9
Its getting frighteningly ridiculous now isn’t it?
What a showing from the young superstar. Went at it hammer and tongs all night. Only blimp was it was Tierney playing Fernandhino onside after he failed to come out his box quickly enough. How would our young left back answer that disappointment…only by “scoring” one and then making another! – that’s how!. The shot which diverted off Sterling into the net was a truly joyous occasion when it hit the back of the net. Theres something truly special when we see a celebratory Tierney runs to the Green Brigade and then his song rings out. As if that wasn’t enough, he then sent in the cross to Dembele for the 3rd which had everyone screaming in salute. What a night for our bhoy wonder!
Sinclair – 7
Some folk on Twitter were going crazy for Sinclairs performance but I didnt really see it as anything truly exceptional. Covered lots of ground and supplied the perfect ball at the free kick for Forrest to send across goal but on a few breaks towards goal he tried to beat one player too many. Seemed to me to be trying a little too hard in first half and looked a little more relaxed in the second and playing more his own game and continues to improve his relationship with Dembele game after game.
Broony – 9
Cometh the hour, cometh the Captain. I was actually worried that this game could pass Broony by after a few recent games had saw him dummied in the middle of the park by players from lower SPFL clubs and this time he would be facing International superstars David Silva and Ilkay Gundogan. Silly me. Broony had obviously just being saving himself for this one as he totally ran the show last night. A powerful run in the 2nd minute won us the free kick that led to the goal and from that point the Captain was everywhere and never let up. You can picture that ice bath melting as soon as he entered it after the game. Broony ensured every tackle was forceful but placed perfectly and motivated and mentored his colleagues perfectly. Broony is now The Scotsman with the most Champions League performances…Bravo sir!
Biton – 8
Remember the Madona Video for “Ray of light” when the old vixen is standing still while the world flies by all round her. That’s how a game with Nir Bitton can seem at times. He often seems slow and pondering but after last night I’m starting to think he just sees the game that extra micro second sooner that the rest of us. It wasn’t a perfect game by any means but that calm skill earned us 2 goals last night. The 2nd goal started with a sublime Bitton turn in the middle of the park and then perfect pass to then release Rogic. Bitton then did a brilliant feint and dribble on the by line to release Tierney for the cross into Dembele for the 3rd. Sometimes its all about the skill rather than the blood and snotters.
Forrest – 8.5
I could talk about Forrest brilliant running all night. I could talk about his persistent tackling ( yes tackling). I could mention his pressing and his excellent coverage of large areas of the park. I could talk about his brilliantly timed run and cross for the opener. I could talk about his well earned standing ovation when he was subbed for Roberts. But I wont.
Instead I offer this simple story to highlight how wonderful James Forrest is currently playing and how important he is to this Celtic side under Brendan Rodgers:
Theres a guy called John sits behind me. At every annoying game last season, he would rant “Forrest shite this!”…”Forrest shite that”. Game after game he would have a go at our James. Well last night, see when the sub board went up, John got vocal again. This time he cried out “FOR FUCK SAKE BRENDAN, DONT TAKE FORREST OFF!”.
James Forrest, beloved Celtic stalwart..well done son!
Rogic – 7
A great first half for Rogic topped off when Rogic picked up Bittons pass and surged forward, took his time and then played a truly sublime pass for Tierney to smash towards goal for the 2nd. At one point I was thinking “Theres Silva, Aguero, Sterling out there and the most skilful player on show is Tom Rogic!”. The Aussie was dancing round the City players and one piece of ball retention saw him hounded for the ball but Rogic suddenly swivelled, actually hit the deck and yet still somehow came away with the ball and left Man City midfielder bemused. Subbed for Armstrong 10 minutes into the second half and will be looking for a goal or two up at Dens me thinks.
Dembele – 9
We have a superstar left back who is a child (19)and we have a superstar striker who is at most a young man(20).
Dembele just continues to astound. Folk questioned could a boy from Fulham make the grade at Celtic and he listened, smiled and answered in not only goals, but playing the role of the perfect forward. This isn’t just a guy who can be in the right place at the right time like he was for the first goal. This is skill, an overhead kick for the 3rd goal, winning headers after headers, all over the park, even in defence at set pieces for City. This is holding up the ball. This is having the skills to dribble and beat a man anywhere in the pitch, facing away or towards the goal. This is unselfishly dragging defenders all over the place creating space for runners like Sinclair and Rogic which was essential to set up the 2nd goal. Dembele truly is the whole package!
A few weeks ago I suggested he would be worth around £20 million at the rate of improvement. That was after the Rangers game in the league. Last night was Man City, a team of all high class midfielders and defenders in a team organised by Pep Guarliola no less. What happened?..Dembele ran amock with no regard for transfer fee or reputation. Brendan Rodgers once helped make Raheem Sterling worth a fee of £49m. At this rate Dembele wont be far off.
Loses 1 mark for that errant pass to Broony that led to their 2nd goal..hey welcome to Tough Love CSC
Armstrong – 6
Came on for Rogic and got stuck in when extra legs were needed to combat the skill, stamina and use of space by City. Continues to improve under Brendan and might get a start at Dundee at the weekend with others rested.
Roberts – 5
Came on for Forrest and had a few runs but didn’t have much chance to really get into his own game with Celtic moving onto the back foot as game neared closure. Another who will probably start at Dundee and will have gained some more confidence as some decent dribbles against City.
Griffiths – 6
Only came on for last 10 minutes but gets a slightly higher mark for annoying the City keeper with a tug at his sleeve and also picking up the ball and removing the chance of City breaking quick after a foul. The ref warned SuperLeigh about his antics but those earned his team a few seconds of a breather which was perfect within the last 10. His introduction also gave the corwd another boost which in turned helped roar the side onto a memorable result.
Brendan – 9
You get gubbed by Barcelona and then you have to face a similar team in Man City. What to do? As Elcormaco covered in his piece yesterday it was a right old dilemma, wasn’t it?
It wasn’t for Oor Brendan.
He simply picked the side and got them ready for the challenge. He respected the £420m opposition but essentially, even amongst a rampaging unbeaten side of Pep Guardiola’s, Brendan had also spotted weakness and opportunity. It was Brendan and his team that divised that brilliant free kick from the calm Sinclair which had a false run and then a perfect late run by the un-marked and rejuvenated and confident Forrest to square across goal. It was Brendan and his team who ensured every Celtic player pressed when needed and tackled CLEANLY when needed. No bookings in such a frantic game, truly amazing drilling there.
Our manager made substitutions once again when fresh legs were needed and even more importantly, did not cower and try and shut up shop but went for it when introducing Roberts and Griffiths when other lesser managers would have put on Jozo Šimunović and tried to shored up at the back and pray we didn’t get broken down by City. City brought on John Stones, a £50m defender, say no more.
I expect Brendan to rest a few players at Dens as they deserve a mental and physical break after such effort and we now we are in 3rd place in the CL group and head into the Borussia double header with unbound eagerness.
The Fans – 10
The old guy next to me uses an inhaler. I thought we were all gonna need a puff after 20 minutes last night. The crowd were fantastic and constantly cheered on the side and from the Walk On..to the Huddle Roar..up to COYBIG then onto Grace and even with the Roll with It at the end, it was all truly joyous. You could see the lift the players were getting as well as the shock impact on the Man City players who clearly were not used to playing in such a cauldron. Every time we scored we roared, every time they scored, we roared louder and lifted our guys back up onto their feet.
Social Media, TV coverage, and Man City fans, players and management were all rampant in their praise for Celtic Park last night.Bravo one and all!