Former Celtic hero Kenny Dalglish has claimed that the Hoops’ winner in Lazio had him up off his seat.
Celtic secured qualification to the Europa League last-32 after bagging their first-ever win in Italy. Perhaps the best part about it was nobody could see it coming either.
The Hoops looked like they were settling for a point. Sure, Neil Lennon left two up top for counter-attacks, but there was an acceptance on the park that a draw was a great result.
Yet, in the dying seconds, Olivier Ntcham produced a bit of magic to nab us the points. And, despite Lazio boss Simone Inzaghi claiming the win was undeserved (Sky Sport), Dalglish couldn’t bring himself to agree in his Sunday Post column.
He said: “Make no mistake, this was not a lucky victory. It was 100% deserved. Sure, you can point to Fraser Forster pulling off two outstanding saves when the game was at 1-1, but that’s what he is there for.
“To weather that mini storm and then emerge with such energy and determination to seal a victory in injury-time – with a stunning finish from Oliver Ntcham – had me up off my seat in front of the TV at home.
“Celtic top their group and are undefeated in four games. More importantly, they have qualified for the last 32 of the Europa League with two games to spare. Do not underestimate the role Neil Lennon has played in the past three months.”
Important not to forget the chances Celtic created
The win in Lazio was no backs-to-the-wall job. Lazio may have had 57% of possession, but that doesn’t mean they dominated the contest (BBC).
For 20 minutes in particular in the second half, Celtic had Lazio against a wall. Callum McGregor, Mohamed Elyounoussi, and Odsonne Edouard all had opportunities that had the hosts reeling.
You would expect Lazio to have more of the play with them being at home. But the BBC’s stats show that Celtic had 12 shots to Lazio’s 15. Only six of Lazio’s shots were on target to our four. It was hardly a one-sided affair.
King Kenny is right to give Celtic all the praise in the world for turning over the Serie A side. It’s important to remember that they currently sit ahead of Champions League teams such as Atalanta and Napoli at the moment in their domestic league. The likes of Fiorentina, Parma, AC Milan, and Udinese also trail them.
So they clearly have pedigree, and Celtic managed to go over and really hold their own. It will forever be a night that Celtic fans will hold dear to their hearts, regardless of how much anyone tries to twist it.
The sky is the limit for this young, exciting Celtic side. The journey will now continue for us in Europe, and who knows where it will lead?