By Tom English
BBC Scotland at Celtic Park
Celtic confirmed high enlighten in Europa League Group E with one sport to spare after a overjoyed receive over Rennes.
The victory, coupled with Lazio’s 1-0 victory over CFR Cluj, formulation Neil Lennon’s facet will steer obvious of Champions League dropouts in February’s closing 32.
Lewis Morgan’s 2nd Celtic purpose and a Ryan Christie effort had the hosts on high of things, and Mikey Johnston added to the tally with a improbable one-two discontinuance.
Adrien Hunou’s glancing header offered a unhurried comfort for the French facet.
Celtic will enact their advertising and marketing campaign in Romania towards Cluj in two weeks in a sport that is now a dreary rubber.
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‘Feel-correct evening for Celtic machine’
Celtic may maybe maybe maybe gain the money for to enact without Odsonne Edouard – he had “a niggle” – and smooth have this Europa League tie within the rep by the wreck. These are heady days for Lennon’s facet, a neighborhood that has transformed itself since elimination from the Champions League by the arms of Cluj. That failure seems fancy an eternity within the past.
It is a ways a crew on the up and up and but another feel-correct evening for Celtic in Europe. Rennes will have had no likelihood of progressing out of the neighborhood and so that they would maybe maybe maybe be on a coast of factual two wins in 11 games, however they’re a tight outfit that were made to ogle routine for essentially the most fragment.
Olivier Ntcham and Scott Brown were impressively influential right via the park, Christie become once his routine buzz-bomb in attack and Morgan – playing in alien territory as Edouard’s substitute – become once shapely. When James Forrest came off, Johnston went on and his purpose become once the receive of the bunch. All three goalscorers were younger Scottish gamers, none of them a day over 24.
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Fraser Forster had his saves to manufacture – one early on from Romain Del Castillo and a double block later on that become once outstanding – however Celtic were sizable set aside for their victory and thoroughly deserving of successful the neighborhood. With that triumph comes the prize of a enlighten within the closing 32 as a seeded crew.
There’s smooth a sport to play within the neighborhood and Brown will tear over it via suspension. He may maybe maybe maybe no longer care a jot. The work has been accomplished. The captain can recharge the batteries at house that evening.
Celtic went ahead when Forrest came in from the left and played it into Morgan, whose timing and precision were supreme. He swept it house with aplomb. The 2nd came factual sooner than the wreck when Brown showed his identical old decision to receive a header which realized its diagram to Christie.
The midfielder, knocking on for a purpose every other sport this season, took a gaze up and thumped one no longer off target, the ball bouncing in front of going within the assist of Edouard Mendy. The fault lay with the goalkeeper, however Christie’s strike become once pure all the identical. What an extraordinarily great fragment of this Celtic machine he has change into.
The guests threatened early within the fresh half however they would maybe maybe maybe not procure the upper of Forster despite having two stabs at it from level-blank vary. The first one from Diafra Sakho bounced straight assist off the colossus, the 2nd one, from Theoson Siebatcheu become once touched on to the post. The Rennes gamers may maybe maybe maybe scarcely grasp it.
Morgan had a solid penalty teach waved away when Mendy looked to have introduced him down, however with 15 minutes left Celtic added their third and it become once a beauty.
Johnston hadn’t long advance on the area for his first look since the first day of September, however when he played it to Ntcham and then took it assist off him within the box, Rennes were accomplished in. The price of belief and tempo of circulation become once too powerful, as become once the discontinuance, firmly put away to Mendy’s correct form. Shapely.
Lennon precipitated Leigh Griffiths in direction of the live and the striker practically made it four factual for his effort to be kicked away by Mendy. The enlighten would have erupted had he scored.
Rennes got a comfort via an impressive header from Hunou, however it didn’t put the slightest dent on Celtic’s evening. Yet one more step forward in an exhilarating and smooth creating European story.
Man of the match – Olivier Ntcham
For filling in so impressively for Edouard, Morgan is a substantial contender, however Ntcham become once terrific accessible. Suave, impactful, defensively solid and offensively ingenious, the Frenchman had a mountainous teach on this magnificent victory.
- Celtic have refrained from defeat in every of their first 5 neighborhood stage games to a Champions League/Europa League advertising and marketing campaign for the first time.
- They’ve obtained four consecutive games in predominant European competitions (other than qualifiers) for the first time since November 2002 within the Uefa Cup.
- Rennes have misplaced four consecutive Europa League matches, their worst such lag in all European competitions since December 2005.
- Forrest has been straight all in favour of three objectives in his closing four Europa League games – as many as he had in his old 23 appearances within the competition.
- Christie’s purpose become once Celtic’s first from birth air the box in a predominant European competition (other than qualifiers) since Callum McGregor towards Ajax within the Europa League in November 2015.
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