I said last night prior to the game we needed a lot of goals and the team came up with the goods, on a night when Astana could have stifled celtic the hoops literally blew their opponents away and the group stages now look like a formality a 5-0 win sets the celts up nicely for the 2 nd leg in Kazakhstan nxt Tuesday afternoon ….
Celtic passed the ball well last night with ntcham a standout once again ,our big game players all turned up with Sinclair 2 Rogic Griffiths and Forrest all chipping in with goals see vids below ….
A excellent outing and a great result get through the game on Tuesday and we can hopefully get a decent draw in the champions league aka avoiding our old pals Barcelona etc …
UEFA Champions League play-off first-leg
Celtic Park, Glasgow
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
(Postnikov o.g. 32, Sinclair 42, 60, Forrest 79, Griffiths 88)
CELTIC produced one of the greatest European performances ever seen in Paradise as they completely outclassed FC Astana in a stunning 5-0 victory to leave them within touching distance of the UEFA Champions League group stages.
It was the perfect European display from Brendan Rodgers’ side as they balanced attacking verve alongside defensive diligence, controlled aggression and composure in possession – and a jubilant Celtic Park lapped it up as the Hoops took complete command of the play-off tie.
After Tom Rogic’s wonderful run, Evgeni Postnikov’s own goal gave the Hoops a 1-0 lead and Scott Sinclair’s cool finish put the Scottish treble-winners in charge at the break.
Sinclair bagged his brace and made it 3-0 on the hour mark, before James Forrest and Leigh Griffiths inflicted further punishment on the beleaguered visitors in the closing stages, leaving the Celts with an emphatic advantage ahead of next Tuesday’s second-leg in Kazkahstan.
Having come on for the final 30 minutes of Celtic’s 1-0 win over Partick Thistle last Friday night, Griffiths had recovered from a calf problem to lead the line for the Celts.
The inclusion of the Scotland internationalist was one of two changes to the team that saw off the Jags in last week’s Glasgow derby, with Rogic also coming into the starting XI. Callum McGregor and Jonny Hayes were the players to make way.
A huge crowd had turned out to back the Bhoys in Paradise, generating the usual incredible atmosphere on these special European occasions, and they were soon on their feet as Brendan Rodgers’ side fashioned two decent early opportunities The first stemmed from Griffiths’ deadly dead-ball delivery.
Following a foul on James Forrest on the right, the striker swung the set-piece into the mix and Sinclair was first to the loose ball but was unable to steer it on target.
Forrest had started brightly and, after Rogic had fed him on the right, he whipped in an early cross.
Griffiths met it perfectly but his header flashed inches wide, with goalkeeper Aleksandr Mokin rooted to his line.
After that initial flurry of chances, the Hoops remained in control, probing for openings, while the visitors attempted to maintain compact.
It took them until the 22nd minute for them to test Craig Gordon, but the Celtic No.1 was equal to Serikzhan Muzhikov’s dipping drive from distance.
Celtic’s patience was finally rewarded just beyond the half-hour mark thanks to a moment of magic from Rogic. In almost a replica of his last-gasp winning goal in the Scottish Cup final, the Australian internationalist weaved his way into the box past several defenders, before lofting the ball over Mokin from an acute angle.
The ball was drifting towards the far post but defender Evgeni Postnikov’s outstretched boot got the last touch as it spun into the net. Cue bedlam.
Postnikov had an immediate chance to make amends as Astana immediately won a corner down the other end, but the big centre-half headed wide at the near post.
Instead, it was the Hoops who doubled their lead as half-time approached. Rogic’s pass deflected into the path of Sinclair, who beat the offside trap and retained his composure to find the far corner, despite Mokin’s best efforts.
As the second half got underway, Stanimir Stoilov’s side now had a greater onus to push forward in search of an away goal, which left greater gaps for Celtic to exploit on the counter, and Griffiths was narrowly flagged offside after being played in by Sinclair.
In the 60th minute, they found another way through. Bitton’s lofted pass was flicked on by Rogic for Griffiths. He slipped a pass through for Sinclair, who had timed his run perfectly, and the winger, once again, made no mistake.
Rogic had suffered a nasty clash of heads with Yuri Logvinenko in the build-up to the goal, which forced both players to leave the fray after several minutes of treatment, and the Celtic midfielder received a well-deserved rapturous reception as he departed after another crucial contribution on the big occasion, playing a part in all three goals. He was replaced by Callum McGregor.
It could have been even better moments later for the Bhoys as Griffiths found himself through on goal from Tierney’s long ball over the top, but the hit-man was unable to control his finish, slicing wide amid torrential conditions.
For all of Astana’s hustle and bustle, Celtic remained the more dangerous outfit, and the away side’s frustrations started to grow, with Tierney and Sinclair, in particular on the end of some reckless tackles.
Their anguish continued with 11 minutes left on the clock as Brendan Rodgers’ clinically added to their tally. Griffiths superbly controlled a long ball and cleverly supplied the overlapping Forrest, who finished with aplomb from a narrow angle.
Paradise was absolutely rocking, with Astana visibly deflated, and the noise levels were cranked up even more as Griffiths, incredibly, added number five in the closing stages, the 26-year-old slotting home via a deflection from the edge of the box, just reward for a magnificent performance in the lone striking role.
The final whistle sparked more celebrations as Brendan Rodgers and his players took a well-earned bow after a truly outstanding showing on the biggest stage.
CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Lustig, Simunovic, Bitton, Tierney; Brown, Ntcham; Forrest (Armstrong 82), Rogic (McGregor 63) Sinclair; Griffiths
Not Used: De Vries, Benyu, Ajer, Ralston, Miller
FC ASTANA (4-4-1-1) Mokin; Shitov, Postnikov, Logvinenko (Beysebekov 65), Shomko; Twumasi, Maevski, Kleinheisler, Tomasov (Murtazayev 77); Muzhikov (Grahovac 82), Kabanaga
Not Used: Eric, Anicic, Tagybergen, Maliy.