We I’m sure most of us are of a mind that the best team won last night. I called the game 2 – 2 because I knew they would be a better team than we faced at Celtic Park but I honestly expected us to score a couple especially with Hooper and Sammy up front.
In reality we never got out of the starting blocks. We did have a decent spell after Sammy equalised and seen the game out to half time at 1 -1. I expected us to regroup at half time and have a better second half but the loss of Mulgrew and then Brown was a bit of a blow.
During the second half we once again struggled to get a grip of the game. Benfica inbetween diving about seemed to be that bit sharper and dictated play from the midfield which lead to us sitting in a wee bit too deep.
After they scored the second which simply goes down to poor defending we did seem to make an attempt to rally with the addition of Commons and then Watt we had a few chances ourselves but over the piece the better team won. They had done their homework and isolated Hooper through out the game.
I always said when I seen the group we were in that I’d be delighted if we could at least make sure we were still playing in Europe in some form after the new year and last night Moscow’s defeat secured that for us. The problem is the team have performed brilliantly in this tough group and it has raised our expectations of playing in the Champions League in the new year.
It can’t be emphasised enough that this is a young growing up together. They were beaten by a better side last night but I’m sure it’s all part of a learning curve.
We can still achieve that goal so I’m not going to give the bhoys a hammering for one poor performance in fact I’ll say well done to Neil Lennon and the players for making sure we are still contenders in the Champions league and congratulate them for insuring European football after Christmas for the first time in many a year.