Celtic’s Europa League group stage campaign opened up with a creditable 1-1 draw away to Rennes. The French side took the lead in the first-half from the penalty spot thanks to a M’Baye Niang goal, which the Hoops answered in the second-half thanks to a Ryan Christie penalty. A frantic end to the game saw Vakoun Issouf Bayo somewhat unluckily sent-off, but overall it was a good result for the Hoops.
Here are three things we learned as Celtic made their Europa League debut:
CENTRE-BACK HAD NO NEED TO MAKE CHALLENGE
Celtic were comfortable in the first-half until a rash challenge by Kristoffer Ajer allowed Rennes to take the lead from the penalty spot. He didn’t look comfortable tackling M’Baye Niang, and chopped him down in the penalty box. Even though Ajer has been an excellent player for the Hoops, sometimes he is guilty of making a rash challenge. It is something he has to cut out of his game if he is to reach the top level of the game. Hopefully he will learn from this mistake in the future.
MIDFIELDER’S EXCELLENT SEASON CONTINUES
Ryan Christie’s season has been excellent so far, that continued against Rennes. He showed nerves of steel to score Celtic’s equaliser from the penalty spot. Just before that he had been unlucky not to earn a penalty himself as he looked to be fouled in the penalty box. He has already scored nine goals this season, which is a remarkable number of goals for a midfielder. A striker would be proud to score that number of goals this early in a season. He should be looking to score 20 goals this season.
LOAN SIGNING SHINES ONCE MORE IN EUROPE
Celtic’s decision to sign Fraser Forster on loan already looks to be a good one. The experienced goalkeeper made his name in Europe with the Hoops, and he once again performed well for the Hoops against Rennes. He made two good saves in particular, and he showed why Neil Lennon was keen to bring him back to the club. If he keeps up this level of performance, Celtic fans will be hopeful that the loan move from Southampton will turn into a permanent one.