Player of match, big letdown, turning point, gave us a giggle, ref watch - what you need to know from Celtic 2-0 Ferencvaros
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
There were many that confidently predicted the shock early season form of Anthony Ralston would prove a purple patch; that a player who couldn’t stand-out in loan spells for St Johnstone and Dundee Unied couldn’t be any more than a stop-gap until Celtic enhanced their then non-existent right-back options. Another thunderous display in Europe suggested that the currently injured Josip Juranovic – that full-back upgrade – won’t simply be a shoe-in when he is restored to fitness. Not when the 23-year-old Scot seemed so assured as he galloped forward to support his attackers and every available opportunity and at the other end was impeccable in producing a terrific saving challenge just before the opening goal.
Not for the first time, the Green Brigade’s desire to draw attention to themselves, resulted in a discordant moment before kick-off. It came when the self-publicists held up two banners, one a visual mock-up of the Countdown letter squares that in lower case spelled out a derogatory message to UEFA. Below that was another bearing the words “CONUNDRUM CLUE; FANS BEFORE TV”. Oh, what wags they are. Oh, how we all burst our sides. A display that puts the club in danger of receiving another UEFA fine - two years after banner earned them one in Rome. here’s a newsflash for the club’s ultras. As awkward and unfortunate as the staging of the Ferencvaros encounter proved, for more than 30 years Celtic games have been re-arranged for television purposes.
It might sound daft to say that Celtic’s 62nd-minute missed penalty proved to be what propelled them to their first win in the Europa League group stages this season. However, the reaction to Denes Dibusz saving from Callum McGregor as the Celtic captain squandered the opportunity to doubled his team’s advantage was truly immense. In such circumstances in continental contests of the recent past, the Parkhead side have allowed such disappointment to give way to calamity. Instead, it only seemed to spur them on, concentrate minds to to ensure they wouldn’t buckle. The clinching second this resulted in felt like scant reward for the raft of chances they engineered as they thrillingly hit their straps.
The one big call – the 62nd minute Celtic penalty for a Henry Wingo push on the back of Adam Montgomery that Callum McGregor failed to convert – official Jakob Kehlet did not hesitatE before awarding. Mind you, it was indisputable. The Danish referee was in control throughout, succeeded in diffusing a couple of flare-ups, and played advantage smartly on more than one occasion. Will be marked up well by his UEFA delegate.
GAVE US A GIGGLE
It isn’t often in the press box, you look down and two rows in front is a president swaying with a Celtic scarf as he rocks to a rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone. But then, Albanian premier Ilir Meta isn’t like many others in his position. A self-confessed Celtic fanatic, the encounter marked the first time he had experienced a game at Parkhead live, which he did in the company of friend Rudi Vata and his family.