By Wee Lubo
Well I’ve started this post 3 times now as I’m not really sure where to start, so maybe just start at the start! From the first whistle to the last we just never turned up. There was a nervousness about us tonight that seemed to be uncharacteristic of this Celtic side in Europe this season although if I can just take you back to the opening group game this season against Benfica, the game finished 0-0 and most fans left Celtic Park somewhat satisfied as we hadn’t been turned over by a classy Benfica side who had reached the semi finals the previous year whereas ten of our side that night were making their Champions League debut. However before the game tonight I stated that after looking back at that game the thing that struck me most was that as I said at the time Benfica were there for the takin that night and maybe, just maybe our young team were more concerned about not making a pigs ear of it on their debut but instead were more content not to get beat. That is not a criticism.
I myself left Parkhead that night content we hadn’t been embarrassed by a well drilled and seasoned Benfica team who were unlucky not to get to the final the year before. What I mean is, looking back at the first game it seemed to me we were to scared to win the game, instead, contenting ourselves with not getting beat. The same thing struck me tonight. Right from the start of the game we looked shaky and nervous and it showed when we conceded an early away goal like the Celtic of old, we seemed to be hanging on until the enigma nodded in yet another vital European goal and for ten minutes we pinged the ball about, every player in sync looking like we had finally clicked.
Second half we again looked like we were rabbits caught in headlights for the entire half, no composure anywhere on the park. I think the occasion got the better of our young team, I think the reality of what they COULD have achieved tonight got the better of them. Again this is not a criticism, we ARE a young team, we WILL, make mistakes but I’ve seen enough in this side to know, and believe that they can respond to disappointment and defeat, they will know tonight they let themselves down and will be eager to make amends when the Russians come to town, I for one can’t wait to be part of another special night at Celtic Park and I hope you are too. Don’t be to hard on the Bhoys tonight they will be hurting like me and you, and they will be itching to put it right against Spartak, so lets look forward to that and give them all the backing they deserve as no one would have dreamed we would be in this position when the group was drawn.