Bhoys blow early Europa League lead to suffer Fenerbahce faultings


On a night when European football returned to the rapturous Parkhead, Ronny Deila’s Celtic saw familiar errors creep into their performance against Fenerbahce, letting an early two-goal lead slip to eventually draw 2-2 in their Europa League Group A clash, having previously endured a stalemate with Ajax.

The Hoops got off to the best possible start in Glasgow, taking a lead after just 28 minutes through top scorer Leigh Griffiths, before former Scotland international Kris Commons doubled their advantage moments later to edge close to a maiden European victory this season.

Although, the Bhoys were unable to continue their early form, as substitute saviour Fernando struck past Craig Gordon before the break and then inflicted further misery on the hosts by heading home Nani’s cross in the second period. Following the result, Celtic are now 10/3 with Coral to top their group.

Despite the Turkish giants seemingly stealing the momentum after Fernando’s brace from the bench, it was the hosts who finished stronger but they were unable to give their superb Celtic Park crowd a win to celebrate, ending with a second successive point.

The home side started and finished dominantly in their Group A encounter, but frustrated boss Deila bemoaned a lack of concentration for the goals his side conceded, with defender Efe Ambrose at fault for Fernando’s first.

“If you see the overall performance, when you are defending you need to keep concentration for 90 minutes,” slammed Deila. “That’s the biggest challenge Efe has. He plays in 88 minutes very good but he has, sometimes, some easy mistakes and today was one of them.

“We played well in the first half. We get 2-0 up and it was important to keep that lead into the break and I thought we would have a very good chance in the second half. Then we conceded an easy goal. Of course, that gave them energy and put us a little bit on the back foot.”

Celtic seemed to be controlling proceedings, especially at the back, with Mikael Lustig keeping former Manchester United frontman Robin van Persie from dispatching in the first-half, but Deila was still pleased with another point nevertheless.

“They didn’t create a lot, they created some crosses and they get a goal from the set play. Again, that’s of course disappointing that they score on almost the two chances that they had.

“I’m a wee bit disappointed that we didn’t win but I’m happy that we get the point and the group is still very open. It’s a very good result. The group is very open and it’s in our hands still. We can do it so there’s a lot of possibilities.”

Set-pieces proved to be the hosts’ undoing yet again, with the equaliser coming after Celtic’s inability to deal with incoming deliveries, a continued failing which has cost points and seen them scupper commanding leads both domestically and in Europe.

“It’s always a concern, but it’s better to do that than go under and then stay under so you can see it in different ways,” Deila continued.

“What you can see is that when we believe in ourselves, on the ball when we dare to play football then we are a good team. That’s what we need to do more. We have to really go for it and play our system, believe in ourselves on the ball and defend as high up the pitch as possible. Sometimes you have to get deeper.

“I want to see us more on the ball, I want to see us braver on the ball, to develop our own play and that’s going to be the key for the future.”

Celtic face a double header against Molde next in their European quest, but recent faults will need to be irradiated in order to enjoy a successful run, with the Bhoys 66/1 to go all the way in the competition this campaign.

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