Stuttgart Kickers 1-0 Celtic: Celtic kept out again in defeat to Kickers
CELTIC failed to score for a second pre-season game as they fell to German third division side Stuttgart Kickers.
Scorers: Stuttgart Kickers - Jatta (41)
Neil Lennon’s experimental first-half line-up conceded a headed goal just before the break and they struggled to carve out any second-half openings.
Their hosts had several chances to add to the lead in the final 20 minutes.
Celtic, who opened their tour with a goalless draw against Augsburg in midweek, started with a midfield diamond, with Paddy McCourt playing in a deep central role.
The Northern Ireland international had Scott Brown and Filip Twardzik on either side, with Kris Commons behind front pair Daryl Murphy and Gary Hooper.Thomas Rogne and Charlie Mulgrew started at the back flanked by young full-backs Lewis Toshney and Andre Blackman, with Lukasz Zaluska in goal.
Rogne missed a good chance with a header early on and Commons slipped as he tried to chip the goalkeeper and subsequently saw his effort sail over the crossbar.
Brown and Twardzik were linking up well in midfield and the Czech teenager saw an ambitious effort go past the post shortly before the break. Celtic had hardly looked in any danger throughout the first half, but just two minutes before half-time an error from Blackman proved costly. The full-back, who featured in the first team at the tail end of last season, slipped to allow right-winger Fabio Leutenecker to deliver his cross, and Omar Jatta was on hand to guide a free header home at the back post.
Lennon used the interval to introduce James Forrest, Beram Kayal and Kelvin Wilson from the substitute’s bench, and McCourt was moving out to a more familiar left-wing berth, with the Scottish champions adopting a more conventional midfield four.
The Parkhead side began the second half well, with Forrest, who had skippered the side in their prvious game, made a good run that ended with a Commons shot being blocked. From then on, however, Celtic were unable to sustain any genuine attacking threat.
Lennon brought on youngsters Dylan McGeouch, Tony Watt and Rabiu Ibrahim but it was Kickers who created the better of the late chances. McGeouch, playing at right-back, was caught out by a ball over his shoulder but Kevin Dicklhuber pulled his shot wide. Sandrino Braun then got in front of Brown but his shot grazed the crossbar before Zaluska had to pull off a good save in the last minute after Wilson had been turned inside the box.
The next challenge of Celtic’s German tour comes tomorrow when they face VFR Aalen.
Stuttgart Kickers: Wagner; Evers, Auracher, Leist, Stadler; Leutenecker, Marchese, Jatta, Gondorf, Savranlioglu; Guttner Subs: Krauss, Braun, Ivanusa, Sprung, Gerster, Dicklhuber, Fennell, Schmidt, Alvarez.
Celtic: Zaluska; Toshney (McGeouch 64), Rogne, Mulgrew (K. Wilson 46), Blackman (Kayal 46); McCourt (Watt 71); Brown, F. Twardzik; Commons (Ibrahim 76); Hooper (Forrest 46), Murphy. Subs not used: Forster.
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