CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP B MATCHDAY 1: TUESDAY 12TH SEPTEMBER; CELTIC 0 PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN 5 (Neymar 19’, Mbappe 34’, Cavani (Pen) 40’ 85, Lustig (og) 83’)
Celtic suffered our highest ever home defeat in Europe with a 5-0 defeat to the PSG all-stars. Whilst admittedly PSG are admittedly one of the best sides in Europe, Celtic were alarmingly naive at times, particularly in the first-half.
Brendan Rodgers brought in 18 year old Anthony Ralston for only his fifth Celtic start with Mikael Lustig moving in to centre-half, Patrick Roberts got the not ahead of James Forrest and Armstrong played instead of McGregor.
Unsurprisingly PSG started with plenty of possession and quickly penned Celtic back, and Cavani had a goal correctly disallowed for offside and forcing Gordon into a save with a powerful before Neymar opened the scoring in the 19th minute, it looked like Sinclair may have been fouled but the referee played on and Rabiot played in Neymar who held off Ralston and chipped the ball over Gordon and into the net.
Shortly after this, Griffiths had Celtic’s first shot on target with a free-kick that Aerola tipped over the bar. Cavani then blew a great chance to make it 2-0, electing to pass instead of shoot but the second goal did inevitably arrive, Cavani’s dummy leaving Mbappe with the freedom of Celtic Park to smash the ball home.
PSG’s third goal arrived shortly before half-time, Simunovic ludicrously tugging Cavani’s jersey in the box leaving the referee with no option but to award the penalty. Cavani made no mistake from the spot.
After such a passive first half performance Brendan Rodgers made a change at half-time, bringing on Tom Rogic for the invisible Armstrong, and we started off the second-half reasonably well, with Sinclair forcing Aerola into a decent save.
Gradually PSG took control though, and Neymar - who was later booked for diving much to the crowd’s delight - missed two great chances to put PSG further ahead.
Two late goals did arrive though, Lustig putting a Draxler cross into his own net and a brilliant Cavani header making it five, and ending a chastening night for Celtic.
Looking at the game overall, Celtic’s performance in the first half was dreadful, and worryingly reminiscent of our 7-0 defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League last season. I was hopeful that we would have learned a lesson from that game but it seems not, as we were unable to ‘get stuck in’ at any time.
As for the players on the night, too many didn’t show up, the midfield was posted missing for huge spells of the game and the defence - possibly with the exception of Anthony Ralston - was poor.
Perhaps Brendan Rodgers needs to rethink his game plan for the upcoming games in Group B, we should think about ‘parking the bus’ against Bayern, whilst perhaps we can play our normal game against Anderlecht.
This isn’t really a wake-up call for Celtic as most people - myself included - expected us to lose this game. The manner of the defeat though, is what’s alarming.