Was it only a year ago that the GB displayed a banner saying ‘Gutless in Malmo Clueless in the boardroom”? Nothing now could be further from the truth. This team showed its character in both games against Astana and at Tynecastle last week. But tonight they bounced back in a way I haven’t seen Celtic do since….I’m scratching my head here!

I arrived expecting a stuffy game with few goals which shows what I know! The team started brightly and deserved the early lead coolly taken by Rogic. After a while though HBS came more into it whilst never really threatening Gordon and the game seemed quite evenly balanced. Then along came the Leigh Griffiths show. Two great goals (well done Toure for his first) including a great goal direct from a free kick. When did that last happen?!

I texted my son at half time and did express some unease; the scars of Maribor and Malmo still run so deep that I couldn’t relax at 3-0. Ten minutes into the second half and it seemed like deja vu with two poor goals lost and our midfield losing control of the game. In fact the team seemed to lose its shape and discipline for a while. And then along came Brendan’s substitutions. Janko for Lustig was a straight swap maybe as both of their goals had come down the right. This was a surprise as Lustig had had a great first half. It was, though, the introductions of Biton and Dembele which were the game changers. As LG said after the game, the gaffer has balls!

The goals seemed to come through sheer will power and belief as HBS often played the sharpest football but we are going to Israel to defend a three goal lead to qualify for the group stages ! They will know that they can score against us so I’m not taken anything for granted but we are now so close…

A mate who’s a Liverpool fan said be prepared for some see-saw games with Brendan in charge. This may just be the first of many such nights of bedlam. I can’t wait!!

Howard Gilbert




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