Champions League

Ange upbeat after kicking off Celts’ era with draw

Praise: Ange Postecoglou (pic: SNS Group)

Celtic 1 Midtjylland 1
Celtic Park
2nd qualifying round, 1st leg

There were enough positives to keep Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou happy despite failing to beat Midtjylland in his first competitive game in charge.

All things considered he considered it a reasonable display from the Hoops at such an early stage of the campaign, though defensive errors again proved costly.

Postecoglou has said the club needs to move more quickly to bring in players, as he begins preparation for the return leg in Denmark next Wednesday.

A focus of attention is goalkeeper Vasilis Bargas, Neil Lennon’s £5m signing, who was clearly at fault for the equaliser after allowing a free-kick from Evander Ferreira to slip through his fingers in the 66th minute.

New signing Liel Abada scored on his debut to put Celtic in front in the 38th minute, but the hosts were dealt a blow close to half-time after Nir Bitton was sent off for second yellow card. The visitors themselves were reduced to 10 men shortly after the restart, however they managed to draw level midway through the second half courtesy of Bargas’ slip..

The match saw Parkhead host supporters for the first time in 16 months, with 9,000 fans – 15% of capacity – having been sanctioned by the Scottish government.

Postecoglou said: “I don’t think we will ever be as badly prepared as we were tonight going into such an important game and that’s on me.

“The players didn’t look for excuses. They put in a solid shift and I’m just disappointed they didn’t get the rewards for what I thought was an outstanding performance.”

Celtic (4-2-3-1): Barkas, Ralston, Bitton, Welsh, Taylor, Soro, McGregor, Christie, Turnbull (Rogic 77) Abada (Murray 44) Edouard (Ajeti 77). Subs: Bain, Hazard, Griffiths, Bolingoli, Urhoghide, Shaw, Forrest, Henderson, Montgomery.

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