Celtic’s 2-1 win over Lazio in the Europa League group stages on Thursday night has to go down as perhaps one of Celtic’s best ever results in Europe.
The Hoops made history by winning for the first ever time in Italy, and they did it in style, coming back from a goal down to win 2-1. The Hoops also booked their place in the last 32 of the competition with the victory. Neil Lennon’s side can look ahead to the rest of the competition with huge confidence.
Here are three things we learned from a historic night for the Hoops:
Manager’s selection gamble pays off
Neil Lennon’s decision to move to three at the back might have come as a bit of a surprise. The Hoops have rarely played in that formation this season. However, the move paid off, as Celtic, after a slow start, were able to dominate the game for large periods. The three defenders selected by Lennon, Kristoffer Ajer, Hatem Abd Elhamed and Christopher Jullien, all stood up to the task ahead of them. As the move was such a success, Lennon should not hesitate repeating it in future European fixtures.
Utility man has his best night in a Hoops jersey
Jonny Hayes started for the Hoops in place of Greg Taylor, in a move which showed that Neil Lennon had plenty of confidence in his utility man. That confidence paid off, as Hayes had probably his best night in a Celtic jersey. He was solid in both defence and attack, and more than justified his selection in the Hoops starting line-up. It would be no shock if his excellent performance was rewarded with a new contract.
Loanee excels once more in Europe
There must be something about playing in Europe which brings out the best in Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster. In his first spell at the club he enjoyed some memorable nights in Europe. Since returning to the club from Southampton that trend has continued. He was excellent in the 2-1 win over Lazio at Celtic Park, and produced a number of fine saves in the win in the Stadio Olimpico. Whilst he is in the team, the Hoops can be confident of success in Europe.