Mikey Johnston's great start continues - Celtic player ratings v Nomme Kalju

By John Reid

July 31, 2019

Celtic eased into the third round of the Champions League qualifiers with a 2-0 win over Nomme Kalju, making it a 7-0 win on aggregate.

Hoops boss Neil Lennon made a host of changes for the game. The likes of Craig Gordon and Anthony Ralston were given rare starts.

Midfielder returned to the side

(photo by David Young/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Olivier Ntcham returned to the side whilst Christopher Jullien made his Hoops debut.

Celtic opened the scoring early on, when a Mikey Johnston cross was forced into his own net by Aleksandr Kulinits.

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Victory wasn’t secured until late on

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Despite having plenty of chances, it took until injury time for Celtic to confirm the win with a Marian Shved piledriver.

Here we will look at how Neil Lennon’s side performed on the night against Nomme Kalju:

Craig Gordon – 6

Can be pleased with his night’s work in his first start of the year. Didn’t have much to do in the first-half, but pulled off some good saves in the second-half. Remains to be seen if he will get a run-out against St Johnstone on Saturday.

Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo – 6

Continues to look like a player who is more comfortable in attack than in defence. Played well enough against Nomme Kalju, but his biggest test yet will come against Cluj.

Christopher Jullien – 7

Made his long-awaited debut for the Hoops and didn’t disappoint. Was very calm and composed in the middle of defence. Was unlucky not to score in the game, as he missed a great chance with a header, and had a goal disallowed. Already looks to be a promising signing.

Jozo Simunovic – 6

Decent enough performance, although made a few errors on the night. Partnership with Jullien looks fairly promising, although it may be broken up with Kristoffer Ajer returns.

Anthony Ralston – 6

Handed a rare start by Neil Lennon to show that he should be considered for the right-back slot. Didn’t let anybody down on the night but failed to make a real impact in the game. Was solid enough in defence though.

Scott Brown – 6

Perhaps a surprise starter in the game, the Hoops captain was his usual dependable self in the middle of the part. Was guilty of a late error with a stray pass, but tenaciously won the ball back to ensure the Hoops didn’t concede a goal.

Nir Bitton – 6

A solid enough performance from Celtic’s most versatile player. He was restored to his usual midfield role, and was coolness personified in the middle of the park. However, he could well be back in defence for the match against St Johnstone.

Olivier Ntcham – 7

Made his return to the starting line-up in a more attacking role, and was influential. Played a key role in the move which set up the opening goal. Faded a bit in the second-half, but he showed that a more attacking role in the team could suit him in the future.

Mikey Johnston – 8

Another excellent performance from a player who has started the season in blistering form. Set up the opening goal with a dangerous cross which caused the own goal. Was a constant threat to the Kalju defence with his probing runs. He more than deserves to keep his place in the starting line-up.

Lewis Morgan -7

He is repaying the faith that the manager is showing in him. Set up Shved with a brilliant pass which the winger should have scored with. Was in and out of the game at times but showed more than an enough in patches to show that he deserved a start.

Leigh Griffiths – 6

Not as influential as he was in the first leg against Nomme Kalju. Still, he played reasonably enough in only his second start of the calendar year. Swung in some deadly crosses from set-pieces, one of which saw Christopher Jullien head over the bar.

Substitutes

Scott Sinclair (5) had a decent enough cameo, was denied a late goal by a brilliant save. Marian Shved (6) can be delighted with his performance, as he sealed his first Celtic goal in style with an excellent finish. Ryan Christie (4) was on too late to make much of an impact.