Celtic’s Europa League group stage campaign kicked off in France, as the Hoops faced Rennes for the first time since 2011.
It was a similar scoreline to the game in 2011, as the Hoops secured a creditable 1-1 draw. Celtic had played well in the game before a rash challenge by Kristoffer Ajer on M’Baye Niang led to a Rennes penalty, which was converted by Niang.
Thankfully the Hoops didn’t buckle, and fought back in the second-half, with Ryan Christie’s penalty levelling the tie.
Vakoun Issouf Bayo was unfortunate to be sent-off late on, as the Hoops held on for what was a good point in the end.
Here are how the Celtic players rated after a commendable night in France:
Fraser Forster – 7
Celtic look a much more comfortable team with the Southampton loanee in goals. He didn’t have a lot to do in the game, but he still managed to pull off two fine saves. Had no chance with the penalty, but will be pleased with his performance anyway. The decision to bring him back to Celtic is already looking like a good one and his loan move should be made a permanent one.
Hatem Abd Elhamed – 6
Spent as much of the game attacking as he did defending. Had a solid game in both attack and defence, and continued his fine start to his Celtic career. Will be intriguing to see if he is given a rest in the next week as he has played a lot of games since joining the Hoops.
Kristoffer Ajer – 5
Guilty of a silly challenge on M’Baye Niang which gave Rennes their first half-penalty. Had no need to dive in like he did, and no doubt Neil Lennon will have a word with the player. Didn’t have the best of games overall and was probably Celtic’s worst defender on the night. He can learn from this and improve in the future.
Christopher Jullien – 9
An exceptional performance from a player who has come into his own in recent weeks. Dominated at the back, and put in a number of good challenges. His heading ability was also excellent, as he thwarted most crosses into the penalty box. Should he keep up this level of performance, the £7 million Celtic paid for him will be a bargain.
Boli Bolingoli – 6
Was guilty of a mistake in the first-half when he went for a challenge and missed the ball completely, but had an otherwise decent game. Went off in the second-half with an injury, hopefully he won’t be out of action for too long as he has had a good start to his Celtic career.
Scott Brown – 7
Another big game, another big performance by the Celtic captain. Some aspects of his game were taken away after a first-half booking, but he adapted well to the situation. His use of the ball at times was excellent, as he and Call McGregor allowed the Bhoys to gain control in the middle of the park.
Callum McGregor – 7
Possibly one of his best performances of the season. Dovetailed well with Scott Brown in the middle of the park, and did well in both defence and attack for the Hoops. He may have been out of form in recent weeks, but this performance showed that he should always be selected for the big games.
James Forrest – 7
Another good display in Europe for Scotland’s player of the year. Almost provided an assist to Mohamed Elyounoussi who just failed to reach Forrest’s cross, then came close to giving Celtic the lead with a shot that curled just over the bar. Looked a constant threat going forward for the Bhoys.
Ryan Christie – 8
Showed nerves of steel to haul the Hoops back into the game from the penalty. His ninth goal of the season which is a remarkable record. Was unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty earlier in the game, and almost won the game for the Hoops with a shot that was deflected in injury time, still a very good performance by the Hoops attacker.
Mohamed Elyounoussi – 6
The loan signing from Southampton was a starter for the second game in a row, but spent much of the game on the margins. Was unlucky not to give the Hoops the lead as he just failed to reach a James Forrest cross. Had some nice touches but was perhaps not in the game as often as he would have liked.
Odsonne Edouard – 6
A frustrating game for the French striker. Was unable to create any real chances for the Hoops, as he was carefully watched by the Rennes defence. Seemed to always have plenty of defending surrounding him. His play outside the box was excellent at times though.
Olivier Ntcham (6) didn’t start the game, but performed well when he came on. Jonny Hayes (6) replace the injured Boli Bolingoli and did an excellent job for the Hoops in both defence and attack in his cameo. Vakoun Issouf Bayo (2) can be considered very unfortunate to be sent-off.