Like the Hebrews glimpsing the promised land, Celtics Champions League exile is almost over. A crock of more than £15million awaits in a Sevco free Europe. Importantly, this was a fourth consecutive away game unbeaten in Europe , our best run of results since Martin O’Neill.
A stunning opener, with a volley on the bounce saw Kris Commons ease the nerves of the battle scarred (scared surely?) fans with only 2 minutes on the clock.
Helsingborgs couldn’t respond. They actually reminded me of Celtic on a bad night, all at odds with the occasion and full of rushes of blood to the head.
They started the first quite 45 well as Celtic struggled. With Celtic going 3:5:1 again, it didn’t take long for the Sieve to get in on the act, as first Mulgrew was caught in possession on the edge of his own box – forcing Forster into a save – then refusnik Sevconian Bedoya turned the entire Sieve to go one on one with Forster, who saved with his foot. Sorum then skelped Matthews and again went one on one with Forster, who managed to get an arm to his chip to prevent a certain goal. Matthews again committed a howler when, standing on the halfway line, he miskicked the ball straight to Mahlangu who was through on goal. Amazingly, the South African dithered and Matthews caught him at the edge of the box. The half time whistle was a welcome relief to sphincters all around.
The second 45 saw Lenny replacing Kayal with Forrest and going to a more comfortable 4-4-2. This was rewarded with a trademark back post header, this time from Samaras on the end of a Commons corner. Game over. It could have been three or four, with Samaras firing wide from another great solo run into the box, then Mulgrew hitting the bar with a free kick.
This was a special night. Celtic actually looked composed away in Europe ( God only knows why) and are ready to join the top table once again. Eat your hearts out Mr Green and Thank you Mr White.