CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP B MATCHDAY 2: WEDNESDAY 27TH SEPTEMBER; ANDERLECHT 0 CELTIC 3 (GRIFFITHS 38’, ROBERTS 50’, SINCLAIR 93’)
Celtic won only our second ever away game in the Champions League Group Stages with a sensational 3-0 victory over Anderlecht in Belgium, in what must be one of our best performances in Europe for many a year.
Perhaps surprisingly, Brendan Rodgers made only one change from the team which defeated Rangers 2-0 at the weekend, with Olivier Ntcham coming in for Stuart Armstrong. Armstrong was on the bench, as was Moussa Dembele.
Celtic began the game quite tentatively, as we seemed maybe a tad anxious about making mistakes. Olivier Ntcham in particular was struggling to find a team-mate. Thankfully at the back Dedryck Boyata and Jozo Simunovic were dealing with any attacks from the Belgian side.
Neither side had created a real chance until Celtic took the lead in the 38th minute, and what a goal it was. Ntcham found his feet with a terrific pass that played in Tierney and his cross was finished in style by Griffiths. 1-0 to the Celts!
Immediately after the goal Anderlecht had a chance to respond but Gordon saved Hanni’s shot, and Celtic went in 1-0 up at half-time.
Anderlecht began the second-half with an effort on goal, Craig Gordon spilling Hanni’s swerving shot but thankfully no damage was done as the rebound was flagged offside.
Celtic then went two up in the 50th minute - Patrick Roberts taking advantage of some slack Anderlecht defending and smashing a shot - with the aid of a deflection off Mbodjii - into the back of the net. 2-0 to the Hoops!
Roberts almost made it three soon after but his shot curled just around the post, before Callum McGregor replaced Tom Rogic, and McGregor really should have killed the game off when played in by Griffiths but he was unable to get a shot away.
Celtic suffered a rare blow on the night when Scott Brown was forced off with a hamstring problem - being replaced by Nir Bitton - and Gordon was forced into his only real save of the night, touching a Gerkens shot over the bar.
As time ticked away the prospect of Celtic adding a third on the break increased, and so it came to pass in the 93rd minute, Ntcham winning the ball in midfield and playing in Scott Sinclair who hammered the ball into the top corner. 3-0 to the Bhoys!
The final whistle brought scenes of great celebration, as Celtic had pulled off a victory that only the most optimistic thought would have been possible. When it comes to individual player performances, Boyata and Simunovic were exceptional at the back, Ntcham recovered from his shaky start to be involved in two of the goals, and Griffiths and Sinclair were always a threat going forward. Brendan Rodgers has transformed Celtic in only 16 months, and all praise must be given to the manager who has given Celtic our credibility back. Bring on the Bayern!