Michael Stewart’s reaction to Celtic’s 2-0 win over Cluj tonight was predictably honest and open.
The former Hearts midfielder is one of the most straight-talking pundits you’ll find in Scotland. He tells it like it is without being clouded by bias. And tonight was no different.
Celtic managed to dispose of Cluj in brutally convincing fashion. It was 2-0 going on four or five. Goals from Odsonne Edouard and Mohamed Elyounoussi won the game for the Hoops. However, it was a dominant display that was really deserving of more than the two goals they got.
Stewart, however, took keen notice of the energy levels on the night. And, speaking to BBC (21:57), the Sportscene analyst was happy to big up the display on the night.
“The standout thing I take from this win for Celtic was that their energy levels were through the roof. Such a dominant performance and they convincingly put Cluj to the sword.
“Seeing that you wonder how they lost to them the last time and it shows the improvement since August.”
Celtic’s win tonight wasn’t rocket science
We all appreciate that there was extra motivation tonight thanks to what happened in August. We all also know that back then we should’ve beaten Cluj on the night and went through to the next round of Champions League qualifying.
However, the improvement tonight isn’t rocket science by any stretch. Just look at the back-line who were out on the pitch tonight.
First off, we didn’t have a midfielder being shoehorned into left-back. We also didn’t have a toiling centre-back in Jozo Simunovic who is prone to shaky moments in big games. Instead, we had Boli Bolingoli and Christopher Jullien filling those positions respectively. Players who continue to grow into their role at Celtic.
Callum McGregor’s influence was put back into the midfield. Meanwhile, we had £16million worth of talent down the left in Elyounoussi (The Telegraph).
Celtic now compared to August aren’t just a better team because we’ve played a few games and gotten to know each other more. It plays a part. But tonight was simply won thanks to Neil Lennon playing the strongest XI he could. Every single player played in their natural position, and it showed.
There will be a few asking the question of how we managed to lose four goals to this Cluj side. But disorganisation played a huge part. Thankfully, Celtic put all of that to rest tonight and destroyed their Cluj hauntings.