BBC pundit Michael Stewart has disclosed that he was concerned that Celtic would have lost to Riga in the Europa League in midweek if not for the performance of Jeremie Frimpong, the Scottish Sun reports.
Celtic struggled in the game, but were never in any real danger from the Latvian side. Still, it took until the 90th minute for the Hoops to make the breakthrough, Frimpong’s pass being swept home by Mohamed Elyounoussi.
Stewart wasn’t impressed with Celtic’s performance. He feels that Frimpong stood out as by far the team’s best performer on the night.
“He was the difference maker”
“Celtic as a whole just look a little flat. That’s why Frimpong’s energy and enthusiasm the other night stuck out like a sore thumb. He was the difference maker – you wonder what might have happened had he not been on the pitch” Stewart said, as quoted by the Scottish Sun.
Stewart is perhaps being a tad harsh on Celtic’s overall performance. Aside from a few first-half breaks, Riga never really threatened Celtic. Maybe he means though is that the Hoops could have faced the lottery of extra time and penalties without Frimpong. What can’t be denied though is Frimpong’s impact on the game.
Arguably his best performance in the Hoops
Arguably it can be considered his best performance in a Celtic strip. His performance in the last 20 minutes of the game in particular was superb. He set up Albian Ajeti twice, who was unfortunate not to find the back of the net, before his cross for the winning goal.
Frimpong only got on the pitch thanks to James Forrest’s injury. Sometimes that is what you need to get a win in Europe though. A bit of unexpected fortune. With Celtic facing Sarajevo in the Europa League play-off on Thursday, Frimpong should be in line for a start.
If he performs as well as he did against Riga, he could almost win the Hoops a place in the group stages on his own.