Pundit picks out Celtic hero who showed true Champions League class vs Real Madrid

By Dave Flanigan

September 8, 2022

Former Celtic star Bobby Petta has given his verdict on the Hoops 3-0 defeat to Real Madrid in their UEFA Champions League opener on Tuesday night.

The ex-winger agreed with manager Ange Postecoglou’s bullish assessment after the game, and believed that the outcome could have been different if Celtic had taken any of the chances they created prior to Vinicius Jnr’s opener for Real.

Speaking on the PLZ Soccer podcast, Petta said: “It’s all about moments at the end of the day and hindsight is a wonderful thing but at that level you don’t get that many opportunities. You need to take them but I do get where Ange Postecoglou is coming from because they weren’t outplayed in the first half, they had chances in the second half.

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

“Later on, the last half an hour, they (Real Madrid) took control, some heavy legs and that’s where the gaps start and they keep composure. It sounds like of a criticism of Celtic but they have to find those moments to keep the ball and play, because they want to play too.

“But the opportunities to go in to attack and try and play a world class ball – it’s not on – just keep the ball and keep playing because they do give you that space in a way to play around. I just thought ‘yeah, you lost 3-0, but you know what? You can keep your head up high.'”

Petta also highlighted his Celtic standout from in captain Callum McGregor, who held his own against a star-studded Real midfield.

He said: “Callum (McGregor) was working extremely hard, he did what he had to do. He’s the leader, the captain, and in the first half he was everywhere, he kept everyone organised.”

Despite numerous plaudits following a valiant effort against the European champions, it’ll mean little to Postecoglou who will want to see his side put some points in the board in the coming European games.

Celtic’s next assignment in the Champions League is in Warsaw to face Shakhtar Donetsk, with the Ukrainian side on a high after thumping RB Leipzig 4-1 in Germany.

Before that, Postecoglou’s side host Livingston on Saturday, as they look to maintain their healthy five point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

In other news: Chris Sutton responds to Ange Postecoglou English Premier League chatter with firm Celtic verdict.