Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Home Sport Football European

Brendan Rodgers is so proud of Celtic's fighting spirit

Celtic 2 RB Leipzig 1

By Ronnie Esplin

Odsonne Edouard gave Celtic a massive Europa League boost with a dramatic winning goal in the 2-1 victory over RB Leipzig at Parkhead.

Brendan Rodgers' side went into the game with three points from three Group B games, including a 2-0 defeat to the German outfit at the Red Bull Arena last month, but Kieran Tierney's early strike gave them a deserved interval lead.

The visitors levelled in the 78th minute through striker Jean-Kevin Augustin but only a minute later French forward Edouard, playing his 50th game in green and white, restored the Hoops' lead.

Edouard's winner took the Scottish champions on to six points, the same as Ralf Rangnick's side, who have a better goal difference and head-to-head.

A thrilled Rodgers said: "A big thank you to the supporters. They really helped the team. The players were absolutely brilliant and they so deserved to win the game.

"Some of our football was fantastic and they kept fighting to the end. When you press as a team, you can have no ego in the team.

"We spoke about it (the possibility of losing a goal) before the game, that you have to respond when things go negatively.

"That's the mark of a good player. When things go against you, you know you have the fight.

"It is a proper win against a top team, fourth in the Bundesliga. In terms of a European victory, this is a great three points."

Hoops midfielder Callum McGregor said: "I think the (first) goal gave us great belief that we could go on and win. Under pressure we were excellent, we counter-attacked well.

"Teams are always vulnerable when they score so it was important to get forward as soon as possible (after Leipzig's equaliser) and the goal again gave us the belief to see it out."

Celtic travel to Trondheim to play Rosenborg, already eliminated, on November 29 before hosting Salzburg, who have maximum points, in the last game.

A spectacular light show before kick-off set up another potentially dramatic European night in the east end of Glasgow.

Constant rain meant the ball zipped about the pitch quicker than normal and the visitors refused to let Celtic settle but only for so long.

In the seventh minute Hoops goalkeeper Craig Gordon had to save a long-range drive from Marcel Sabitzer after he had given up possession with a slack clearance.

However, four minutes later it was Celtic who took the lead with their first real effort on goal.

Midfielder McGregor's quick free-kick to James Forrest set the Scotland winger free down the right and his pass sped across the penalty area untouched until it reached Tierney.

The 21-year-old left-back took a touch before drilling it low past keeper Yvon Mvogo and into the far corner of the net.

Leipzig lost their earlier composure as Celtic, imbued with confidence, went for a second and came close when Scott Sinclair set up Tom Rogic with the Australia midfielder firing over the crossbar with Ryan Christie doing the same minutes later.

The Bundesliga outfit struggled to contain the exuberance, pace and power of Celtic.

The second half saw play race from end to end and the tension grew by the minute.

Bruma's deflected strike caused Gordon little trouble but moments later Sinclair raced on to an Edouard flick and into the box but took too long to get his shot away and was crowded out.

Leipzig slowly increased the pressure but Gordon did well in the 70th minute to parry a close-range effort from Sabitzer.

A Celtic attack moments later ended with Edouard's deflected drive from a tight angle speeding across the goal. Then came a minute of madness.

After Augustin headed in a Konrad Laimer cross from six yards, Celtic raced up the park and Edouard had the easiest of tasks tapping in a pin-point Christie pass.

In the fraught final minutes Leipzig substitute Kevin Kampl rattled the bar but the home side retained their cool and are still fighting for qualification.

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph