Another hurdle cleared for the champions of Scotland last night, who, after a dismal showing last week, professionally bodied a disappointing Rosenborg side to guarantee European football, until at least December this year.
On a night when many people feared the worst before kick off, Brendan Rodgers team once again rose to the occasion and Bosh Flimshaw’d the pre match doubters.
Here are the ratings from last night’s game, and I’ll be a lot fairer than the overly harsh Reidzo.
Craig Gordon : 6
Another game, another clean sheet, the big man’s fourth in as many matches in Europe. Relatively untroubled apart from a couple of strikes from distance and a header from that balloon Bendtner, and was extremely comfortable with crosses all night, but his distribution was terrible and I do worry about going into the group stages with him as the first choice goalie. That said, he’s the least of our troubles, and we know all about them apparently!
Mikael Lustig : 6
Not the best of performances again from the Swede, especially offensively, and should have scored at least once too, but he was part of a defence that kept yet another clean sheet and was relatively untroubled by their ‘talisman’ de Lanlay. Going into the groups with him concerns me more than Gordon, as he’s routinely bodied by players who are a step up in the standard we face when qualifying for the big dog stage, and is never aggressive enough either. See; Neymar debacle November 2016.
Jozo Simunovic : 9
Another imperious display from our very own COLOSSUS. A rock at the back, who flew himself into every tackle as well as keeping himself composed to play the ball out from the back regularly. Incredible that he was almost away to Turin last summer until sense prevailed and he is without a doubt our most important defender at the moment. Ratko Mladic was known as the ‘Butcher of Bosnia’ for years, and I’m not saying for a second that our prized stopper is a notorious war criminal who is responsible for mass genocide but it’s hard for me to finish this sentence without at least considering that title is passed onto our very own Slavic Rieper.
Erik Sviatchenko : 2
Groan. He’s done with us eh ? Slowly declined since a horror showing at Ibrox last New Year’s Eve and has never fully recovered from it. Lasted only twenty four minutes last night, before going off injured. I have sat with Reidzo for longer than that, and that’s a far more mentally challenging ordeal than facing Niklas Bendtner, and to compound his situation, Nir Bitton came in and strolled it in his position. I would not be surprised to see Sviatchenko leave the club in the next few weeks.
Kieran Tierney : 8
Casterly Rock himself. Immovable and unbreachable. Remarkable that we have a twenty year old as a mainstay in the squad, and someone who is one of our most dependable players, especially in Europe, considering many experiences players over the years have endured a torrid time in that position in these games. Milan Jevtovic rarely got past him all night and KT was a huge attacking outlet in the first half. A fine outing.
Jonny Hayes: 6
Saw a lot of the ball in the first half and had their right back Meling all over the place initially, but Rosenborg sussed him out eventually and he was replaced by Leigh Griffiths. At the risk of sounding condescending, especially towards a guy who was a major problem in games against us last season, I’m not sure if he’ll be getting a chance if we make it to the group stage, and I can see us strengthening the right wing.....but enough about the Celtic board’s recruitment!
Scott Brown: 6
Dipped into 2015/2016 form up until we scored, where he then dramatically improved and controlled the game, protecting the back four and never gave the ball away. If Rosenborg had an Andy Halliday of their own, it could have been a lot worse for Broony.
Stuart Armstrong: 5
Now a case of when and not if with him, it seems, in regards to his departure. Gave away countless stupid fouls, passing was nowhere near the level we have come to expect from him either and in general, looks like a shadow of the player he was last season. Fully expect him to head down south after the second leg of the play off qualifying game.
Callum McGregor: 7
Worked the manager into a shoot decision to start him ahead of Ntcham, after a great display against Sunderland on Saturday, and was all over the place, but in a good way, and I won’t make a pun about drink driving out of respect. McGregor’s performance will now give Rodgers a, cliche incoming, SELECTION HEADACHE ahead of the weekend, which can only be a good thing for the squad.
Scott Sinclair : 7
Very quiet game by his standards, going forward anyway, and to be fair was marshalled extremely well by Hedenstad, but tracked back often to help out Tierney and his excellent burst through the middle and pass for Forrest led to our match winning goal.
James Forrest : 7
A bizarre performance. Was asked to play as our centre forward and was denied by Hansen in the first half, but unsurprisingly struggled in that position in general, and moved to his usual wide right position when Griffiths replaced Hayes. Thundered in a belter of a goal that proved to be our winner, and then should have put the tie beyond doubt, but inexplicably squandered the chance to make it 2-0 after doing the hard part all by himself! I remarked after the game that he is a player who is at his best when he acts on instinct instead of having time to think about what he’s going to do next, very much like Kenny Miller! Although I am not comparing Forrest to that undisputed Scottish fitba legend.
Nir Bitton: 8
Replaced Sviatchenko in the first half and strolled it. Oh father why are you Mossad indeed. Highly doubt the manager will see Bitton as a regular partner next to Jozo for the play off matches, but he was unfazed by anything Rosenborg threw at us, and is certainly an option for the SPFL games at least. An assured display.
Leigh Griffiths: 7
Had half an hour to impress and did very well, his movement and the way he pressured the Rosenborg defence was excellent and hopefully he can stay fit for the play off games, where he usually excels.
Tom Rogic : 7
Did more in twenty minutes than Armstrong did in seventy.