Celtic played the second and final game of their Australian tour on Sunday as they took on Everton at Sydney’s Accor Stadium.
Despite being on top throughout, the Bhoys failed to find a breakthrough with the game finishing in a goalless draw in 90 minutes.
A penalty shootout decided the winner and it was the Toffees who prevailed, triumphing 4-2 in the shootout.
Nevertheless, it was what happened in the 90 minutes that mattered for Celtic and from said period, there were several positives to be taken.
Here’s how the players rated.
*note penalty shootout has not been taken into account in ratings
Joe Hart – 6/10
The Englishman had next to nothing to do in the Celtic goal. Hart, though, was kept busy, ever-involved when Celtic built up play from the back.
Anthony Ralston – 8/10
Anthony Ralston was a standout for Celtic in the game. The full back enjoyed a physical battle with Demarai Gray on the right hand side which he succeeded in for the majority. As well as defending amply, Ralston also got forward a sufficient amount, helping his side in attack in a display that was more than plentiful.
Carl Starfelt – 7/10
Making a number of blocks, tackles and interceptions in the Celtic rearguard, Carl Starfelt was a reliable performer in the match. Along with defending well and winning his duels, the Swede made some smart passes out from the back and remained calm on the ball.
Moritz Jenz – 6/10
Starting as the left sided Celtic centre back, Moritz Jenz wasn’t as eminent as Carl Starfelt yet was still a passable performer. The German continually looked to play the ball into the left channel however going back, he did look slightly slow at times. Nevertheless, Jenz played his part in keeping Celtic’s defence watertight in the goalless draw.
Greg Taylor – 6/10
Greg Taylor played the whole match at left back and was up to par. The 25 year old made a few inventive passes, particularly to play Jota in behind the Everton defence, and was rarely challenged defensively.
Matt O’Riley – 6/10
The Dane played in the deepest role in Celtic’s midfield but also got himself into some advanced positions. O’Riley was able to dictate the play from deep with him also having a few pops at goal from range, none of which were to any avail, though.
Reo Hatate – 8/10
Along with Anthony Ralston, Reo Hatate was a stellar performer in the goalless stalemate. The Japanese looked so comfortable on the ball in midfield and made several simple yet effective passes along with a few breathtaking ones. He used his body masterfully also in a display which showed Hatate’s inordinate footballing ability.
David Turnbull – 7/10
David Turnbull got around a fair bit in midfield, helping in the press as well as going back. The Scot isn’t the quickest player however his football intelligence plays to his advantage with Turnbull always looking for a key pass or chance to have a shot on goal in the match.
Sead Haksabanovic – 6/10
Starting on the right of Celtic’s front three, the Montenegrin didn’t particularly standout yet wasn’t noticeably poor. Haksabanovic did have some moments of magic where he got to the bye-line and flash across goal however other than this, the 23 year old was fairly muted.
Jota – 7/10
The Portuguese showed glimpses of brilliance on the left hand side. Jota looked to get the ball into the box on a number of occasions as well as take on his man Nathan Patterson. The 23 year old also went close with a few free kick efforts from distance, one of which rattled the cross bar in the first half.
Kyogo – 7/10
Kyogo started up front for Celtic in Sydney for the second time running and was vivacious, constantly looking to press whilst dropping deep to link the play. In terms of clear opportunities, the Japanese had a few, forcing a routine save from Asmir Begovic in the opening 45 before seeing his close range effort saved by the Bosnian moments into the second half, an opportunity Kyogo really should have taken. He was replaced by Giorgos Giakoumakis with 20 to play.
Unlike the Sydney match, changes were limited by Ange Postecoglou in this one.
Liel Abada replaces Sead Haksabanovic with half an hour to go with the Israeli lively off the bench. The 21 year old was energetic on the wing after coming however did miss what was practically an open goal in the dying embers. Had he converted, Celtic would have had a deserved win in 90 minutes.
Then with 20 to go, James Forrest and Giorgos Giakoumakis came on. Giakoumakis was rather greedy at times, taking a few shots on from range which failed to trouble Asmir Begovic. Forrest, on the other hand, was impressive. It was he who manufactured the aforementioned Abada opportunity when he didn’t give up on a ball which seemed to be in Ruben Vinagre’s control before playing an intelligent pass across goal.
The final two Celtic changes came with five to play when Oliver Abildgaard and Rocco Vata replaced Matt O’Riley and David Turnbull in midfield. There was insufficient time for the pair to make an impact however the inclusion of 17 year old Vata was a huge positive with the youngster looking like he has a bright future ahead of him.
Now, the Celtic players have a week off before they fly out to Portugal for yet another warm weather training camp.
Competitive action, though, is not back for 27 days for Celtic although from today’s match, several positives can be taken. For the majority, Ange Postecoglou’s side dominated a Premier League team and arguably should’ve won in normal time.
Nevertheless, penalties, much the Hoops’ nemesis this season, came back to bite them although as alluded to, the Scottish champions should in no way be disheartened by today’s game.