Craig Fowler rates each Celtic player on another dismal European night at Celtic Park
GK - Craig Gordon – 6
Could do little at the opening goal when Fischer’s shot was hit straight at him. He may feel he could have done a little better at Cerny’s winner after the Ajax substitute outsmarted him with a front post finish, though he did produce a terrific stop in stoppage time.
DR - Mikael Lustig – 4
The weakest part of the starting back four defensively. Through the course of the match the Swede was guilty of not getting close enough to his marker, getting too close and turned easily, and giving away a rash foul, all in dangerous areas. His ill-advised pass to an under-pressure McGregor led to the first goal.
DC - Jozo Simunovic – 7
The £4.5 million signing may be a long way from living up to his price tag, but his assuredness at the centre back position will give hope to Celtic fans in the future. Gets a point knocked off for missing a sitter at 1-1.
DC - Dedryck Boyata – 6
Another Jekyll & Hyde performance from the defender. At times he snuffed out Ajax attacks with the anticipation you want from a burgeoning centre back. Then he would let opponents in with a sloppy touch or pass when he was the last line of defence. By no means the worst on the night but still lacks concentration to shine at a higher level.
DL - Kieran Tierney – 8
Once again the left-back was Celtic’s star performer in an otherwise dismal European night. He was strong in the tackle, stood up to the task even when isolated against the opposing wide players, and continually supported from deep. He was forced from the action with a late injury.
MR – James Forrest – 6
The speedy wide-man was surprisingly quiet in the first half before growing into the contest after the break. Once again the final pass, particularly after a memorable run in which he slalomed passed three players before trying to reverse for Griffiths, was lacking when it counted. He did a solid job defensively.
CM - Tom Rogic – 6
Started in an unfamiliar position sitting in front of the back four with Armstrong and McGregor ahead of him, though he was given license to get forward as the half went on and started behind Griffiths after the restart. His passing was solid in the deeper role though he dropped out of the game a little when pushed further forward.
CM – Callum McGregor – 7
Prior to the match, the 22-year-old had started only one other match this season - against Raith Rovers in the League Cup – though he didn’t show any signs of rust as he rose to the occasion. Netted a superb opener and was often the link between defence and attack when Celtic built their moves. Unfortunately, he’s another who gets a mark off for one crucial mistake, when his slack touch started the move from which Ajax equalised.
CM – Stuart Armstrong – 5
Often used on the wings at Celtic, Armstrong was trusted with a start in his more natural role in the centre of midfield. The ex-Dundee United man battled hard but was another who often lacked quality in the final third. He did, however, thread through a clever pass to find McGregor in space, which the youngster used to open the scoring.
LM – Gary Mackay-Steven – 5
The winger deserves some credit for fighting back to help break up Ajax attacks, even in the centre of the park where his side were short-handed with no natural defensive midfielder. However, on the ball he often made the wrong choice or executed a poor pass.
FC – Leigh Griffiths – 3
A night to forget for the Celtic striker. It wasn’t just a case of Griffiths missing opportunities (which he did), it was that he often made the wrong choice and just looked plain greedy in the final third, going for goal at ridiculous angles rather than passing to team-mates in better positions. No doubt a deadly finisher, he does lack composure in one-on-one and close range chances, as evidenced by his miss after being played through by Allan.
CM – Charlie Mulgrew – 3
Came on to give Celtic a proper defensive minded player in the central midfield position, he never fully got up to speed with the game and couldn’t unleash his range of passing. Oddly walked off the field after Ajax’s winner.
AM – Scott Allan – 6
The former Hibernian star’s introduction gave the home side a real shot in the arm, with his pass through for Griffiths a real moment of excellence. However, he blotted his copybook when robbed on the edge of the Ajax penalty area before the away side broke up field to score the winner.
DL – Emilio Izaguirre – n/a
The left-back came on as a late like-for-like replacement for the injured Tierney. He was the last line of defence at the Ajax winner but heavily outnumbered by the opposing attackers.