Celtic returned to Europa League action against Lille in the second group stage match and drew 2-2 in a topsy-turvy game.
Mo Elyounoussi gave the Hoops the lead with a superb curling shot into the corner of the net. He then put the Hoops two up with a nice penalty box finish. Zeki Celik pulled a goal back in the second-half and Jonathan Ikone made it two all with fifteen minutes to go.
The Hoops held on for a creditable point to gain a foothold in the group.
The pre-match talk surrounded what would happen with Covid-19 victims Odsonne Edouard and Nir Bitton, who had returned to the squad. Both men started the game on the bench. Vasilis Barkas was also on the bench, whilst Scott Brown returned to the starting line-up.
Neil Lennon stuck with a back four for a second game running, that might well be his preferred formation from now on, especially when you consider how well it worked for much of the game.
Here are how those that featured for Celtic in France rated:
Scott Bain – 7
Pulled off two early saves to keep the Hoops on level terms, then made a brilliant save from Jonathan David’s penalty. Almost blotted his copy book by dropping the ball and as a result Lillie hit the bar. Had little chance with Celik’s goal.
Jeremie Frimpong – 8
Put in a brilliant cross for an Ajeti header but the player was penalised for climbing. Set up Celtic’s second goal with a lovely pass to Elyounoussi. Lille couldn’t cope with his speed, as he constantly put Celtic on the front foot. One of his best performances in a Celtic jersey.
Shane Duffy – 6
Gave away a penalty for a rash challenge on Jonathan David. Thankfully the penalty was saved, so no damage was done. You can tell that he is still looking to find his best form. Did make some good clearances, but he is still wanting to have a brilliant game for the Hoops.
Kristoffer Ajer – 6
Once again Celtic’s best centre-back. Made some excellent blocks for the Hoops, but suffered an injury at the start of the second-half and had to go off. Hopefully that is not a serious injury as he has been one of Celtic’s best performers this season.
Diego Laxalt – 8
Did well in both defence and attack. Got the Hoops forward on a regular basis, and also did well when standing up to any Lille attack. Maybe didn’t perform as eye-catching as Frimpong did, but he was good again for Celtic in only his fourth game for the club.
Callum McGregor – 7
A quiet game by his standards, but he was playing in a role which involved him breaking up the opposition play. However, he performed well, as he managed to repel the Lille attacks in the second-half. Maybe not the most exciting role to play, but McGregor did what was expected of him.
Scott Brown – 7
Back into the side, and did what he does best. Broke up opposition attacks and helped Celtic get the ball forward. Did well as the Hoops were pushed back in the second-half. Proved that he still has what it takes to perform well in the big games, and you would think that he will be a mainstay in the Hoops side from now on.
Olivier Ntcham – 6
Played further forward for the Hoops, started the game well, but faded quite badly in the second-half as the Hoops were forced back. No surprise that he was taken off in the second-half, as he didn’t play as well as he did in the first-half.
Ryan Christie – 6
Was involved in plenty of the good aspects of Celtic’s game. Buzzed all around the midfield, winning the ball in the middle of the park, and helping Celtic get the ball forward. Put in a shift in defence at times, but points off for leaving Celik unmarked for Lyon’s goal.
Mo Elyounoussi – 9
Set a great chance for Ajeti with a nice pass. Curled home a brilliant goal to give the Hoops the lead which gave the goalkeeper no chance. Scored his and Celtic’s second with an expert finish when the ball was just behind him. Undeniably his finest ever night in a Celtic shirt.
Albian Ajeti – 8
Had a goal ruled out for offside, which the player was, as he didn’t time his run correctly. Blew a great chance to give the Hoops the lead as he smashed a shot over the bar. Deserves credit though for his assist for Elyounoussi’s first goal, and did well for the second goal as well. All in all an excellent performance.
Nir Bitton – 5
Made an earlier than expected return to the side replacing the injured Kris Ajer. Couldn’t really stop any of Lille’s goals, but the return to the first-team will only do him good.
Odsonne Edouard – 6
Made his long-awaited return to the Celtic side, and was excellent. You wouldn’t have known that he had been out for so long, so well did Edouard perform for the Hoops. Might well be back in the starting line-up vs Aberdeen on Sunday.
Tom Rogic – 4
Didn’t make much of an impact.
Ismalia Soro – 4
Did quite well, but didn’t have that much of an impact on the game.
Stephen Welsh – 4
Had a quiet game.
In other news, Celtic won’t face former Bhoy Dylan McGeouch in the Scottish Cup.