Class Ange tactics, midfielder steps up; 3 things we learned as Celtic stun Ferencvaros

By Euan Davidson

November 4, 2021

When Celtic arrived to face Ferencvaros in Hungary today, they did so with a curious Europa League away record.

The Bhoys hadn’t failed to score on the road for two years [Daily Record]. Only three out of the last 10 away European games, though, in which Celtic have scored first, ended in Hoops victories.

That was a strange precedent. And with a manager intent on breaking streaks for Celtic, there was confidence that an in-form Bhoys side could do some damage.

Photo by ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP via Getty Images

In a back and forth first half, Celtic went ahead with brilliant work from Abada setting up Kyogo. Naturally, the Japan international kept his composure, snaked away from Adam Bogdan, and finished in style.

Then, of course, there was an equaliser. Ferencvaros, through a huge deflection off an unlucky Juranovic. But Celtic took the lead and never, ever looked like losing this one in Budapest. Even with a late scare, via a sublime Uzuni effort.

The in-game management was superb, and all of the front three got on the scoresheet. Jota and Abada are clearly the guys to support Kyogo just now.

What did we learn from a potentially revelatory European win?

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Celtic turn defence into attack three fantastic times against Ferencvaros

Each of the three goals Celtic scored came from winning the ball back and being progressive.

For the first, it was Liel Abada pouncing on uncertainty, getting between the defenders and passing to Kyogo. Jota’s goal came from an excellent move, started by Joe Hart, following a confident save.

Then the third was from a ball won in the opposition half, with McGregor advancing it, and Abada finishing an excellent move.

Against Ferencvaros, Celtic picked up on what they did well in the home leg. Winning the ball, exploiting space quickly and creating opportunities. Whether from Joe Hart’s distribution, clever moves or breakneck counter-attacks, it worked an absolute treat.

The fact that Celtic can concede possession or space, turn the ball around quickly and create chances should be of huge encouragement.

Photo by Laszlo Szirtesi/Getty Images

Nir Bitton used to great effect by Ange Postecoglou

You could be forgiven for being cynical about Nir Bitton in Europe. For sure, the last couple of years haven’t been entirely kind to him. That’s predominantly because he’s been shunted into a centre-back role that, really, doesn’t suit him.

Tonight, he got to do what he does best. He was able to dictate the tempo of the game, win the ball effectively and support attacks.

This was an example of a player being used correctly. So seldom has Bitton been allowed to shine in a position and role that actually fits. And while there was concern that his presence might blunt the midfield’s edge, that just wasn’t the case in the end.

His passing was on point, he won 9 duels by the 80th minute and he was able to recover the ball and distribute it to excellent effect [Fotmob].

Top stuff from Bitton.

Photo by Laszlo Szirtesi/Getty Images

Again, Jota runs the show against Ferencvaros

There was a point in the second half where Jota managed to bother Adam Bogdan into conceding a corner.

The former Hibernian and Liverpool goalkeeper had caught the ball, but Jota’s presence and unwillingness to concede the possession caused Bogdan to let it go loose. Celtic, subsequently, had a chance from a set-piece.

That was just one moment. It’s easy to see Jota as a flair player, but his tenacity is off the charts. Again, he was absolutely everywhere for Celtic. His effort and commitment to the shirt is exceptional, especially when you consider he’s a loanee.

For the aforementioned goal, Jota was able to wriggle his way past defenders and unleash an excellent shot past Adam Bogdan. But it seemed like the icing on top of another excellent all-round performance.

His stats won’t jump out tonight. But in terms of sheer effort, willingness to harass defenders, and shuttling up and down the pitch, Jota was superb. We have to keep him long-term.

Read more: Exceptional Celtic support for Ferencvaros clash tonight