Dane Murray impresses but Bhoys lack edge: 3 things we learned as Celtic lose to FC Midtjylland

By Euan Davidson

July 28, 2021

It could never just be easy for Celtic against Midtjylland, could it?

We dominate them at home, and concede a daft goal. Again, in Denmark, Celtic were all over FC Midtjylland in terms of possession [FotMob], and went ahead. As per, though, after missing a sitter, the Danes take advantage of a rare slack moment in defence.

One simple evening of Champions League. That’s all we ask.

But no, it couldn’t be. Not long into extra-time, momentum shifted towards our opponent. A moment of tiredness and defensive disorganisation undo Celtic. Yet again.

2-1 it finishes, 3-2 on aggregate, and Ange Postecoglou is left with a lot of work to do.

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So, what did we learn as Celtic lost to FC Midtjylland?

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Photo by Jan Christensen / FrontzoneSport via Getty Images

Dane Murray gives solid display after pep-talk from Celtic boss Postecoglou ahead of Midtjylland test

Dane Murray was absolutely everywhere tonight.

Playing with two wide centre-backs, Postecoglou required a lot from his young defence. He said beforehand that it was a huge opportunity for both Murray and Welsh, the kind of game a player dreams of taking part in.

Although the weekend offered little encouragement, Murray was outstanding. Working in tandem with Greg Taylor on the left-hand side, he helped to quieten Midtjylland attacks. Across the middle, he was a clever counterpart to the battering ram that is Stephen Welsh.

Ultimately, the youthful defence was undone by Awer Mabil, who took advantage of an uncertain defensive line. That wasn’t Murray’s fault alone though.

Nor was the second goal particularly his fault. With massive responsibility on his shoulders, he emerges from tonight with credit.

Postecoglou obviously has faith in the young defender.

Photo by BO AMSTRUP/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images

Celtic are lacking that killer instinct

How frustrating.

Celtic were ahead, and relatively comfortable, after Callum McGregor’s immense strike from outside the box. Later, James Forrest had a simple chance to double the lead.

It was almost a mirror image of the circumstances last week. And, like the first leg, we were punished for profligacy.

At the moment, this is an exciting team to watch, no doubt. But they just lack that killer instinct in the final third. Edouard’s link-up play was, more often than not, excellent. But the Frenchman, likely playing his last game for Celtic, just couldn’t make a mark on the score-sheet.

It’s more consternation on the European stage. Forrest looked lively, beating defenders with ease, but just didn’t show the final ball we know he has.

Simply put, it needs to improve.

Photo by Jan Christensen / FrontzoneSport via Getty Images

Maybe Celtic do need an Erik Sviatchenko type after all, after dominant FC Midtjylland display

It could’ve been a great evening for Odsonne Edouard. On what’s likely to be his final game in the Green and White, he had chances, but just couldn’t breach Lössl’s goal.

Why? Mostly, because of Erik Sviatchenko.

Cynical as I have been about bring Big Erik back to Celtic Park, he reminded us why we used to enjoy watching him. Not only that, he provided for Midtjylland exactly what Celtic need; a big, experienced, physical defender.

We may have that soon in Carl Starfelt. And how sad it is that the Bhoys couldn’t bring him in earlier, in time for this match. It’s not as if the defence disgraced itself, as such. Just that inexperience showed in vital moments.

The former Bhoys defender, now the FC Midtjylland captain, was excellent over both ties, playing with a point to prove against his former team.

That point was proven. It’s Sviatchenko on the winning team, tonight.

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