The big positive for Celtic vs Shakhtar despite missed chances

By John McGinley

September 14, 2022

Much of the talk coming out of Celtic’s 1-1 draw with Shakhtar Donetsk tonight will focus on the missed chances.

Giorgos Giakoumakis, Jota and Daizen Maeda all had good opportunities in the second half to secure all three points for Celtic, but just couldn’t show their normally lethal.

It’s obviously important to take your chances at this level, and that shouldn’t be forgotten. The manager certainly tried to hammer that point home in media appearances over the last week. But regardless, there were some big positives for Ange Postecoglou’s team.

Photo by PressFocus/MB Media/Getty Images

For me, taking control of a UEFA Champions League match away from home, for a full second half, is the biggest and certainly suggests Celtic are capable of competing in Group F.

How many times have we seen Celtic collapse, hang on, or even concede a few on the road in Europe, in lesser competitions – never mind this one?

At one point in the first half, when Shakhtar equalised, it appeared we might suffer a similar collapse. But the team showed a bit of resilience to hold out, regroup and come back into the match before the interval.

In the second half, we were by far the better side, enjoying the majority of possession and really taking the game to the home side. Shakhtar looked entirely happy with a point at the end. It was Celtic pushing for a winner in the closing moments. That’s rare for the Bhoys in Europe, outside of Glasgow.

Supporters will rue the missed chances, perhaps the manager will as well. But the control that Celtic had of the game is heartening and can be built upon in the double-header vs RB Leipzig.

Let’s not forget that this Shakhtar side punished the Germans 4-1 just last week. The Ukrainians are a seasoned team at this level, despite their ongoing rebuild.

There’s certainly no reason to feel downbeat about Celtic securing European football after Christmas, which certainly looks achievable after this evening.

In other news, Chris Sutton’s instant verdict as Celtic draw vs Shakhtar Donetsk.