Celtic 3 Lincoln Red Imps 0

imps display

Celtic finally lay to rest the ghost of last week in swift and comfortable fashion, but some problems appear unresolved.

A slightly Deila-esque team selection from Rodgers as he resorted to playing 3 at the back. Anything to prevent Efe Ambrose from being given the runaround by Lee Casciaro again.

It was a tactical decision that worked as Sviatchenko was all that was needed to break-up the Red Imps’ limited possession and we were able to use the ball very effectively going forward.

The first 15 minutes saw a complete onslaught and the Imps’ ‘keeper had to produce some remarkable saves as he put in what must have been the performance of his life.

Something was bound to give though and Mikael Lustig opened the scoring from a scramble in the box following another poor delivery. It was a formality from that point onwards.

Griffiths and Roberts added two great goals before half-time and Dembélé might have had a couple as well if he’d been able to trap a ball and finish.

Second-half saw the pace drop slightly and Casciaro, Casciaro and Casciaro saw a bit more of the ball. Only a defensive mix-up gave the Gibraltarians a sniff at goal late on but they knew they were beaten.

It was a case of how many. The answer was not that many.

Dembélé missed a further hatful of chances and even when the Red Imps’ defence were teeing him up, the Goalkeeper wasn’t to be beaten. He also seemed intent on preventing Griffiths from adding to his earlier goal.

Could have been a bigger margin (might have been had Izaguirre not spent the last 15 minutes as a winger) and the intensity was encouraging but, truth be told, there aren’t too many sides I would fancy to travel to Kazakhstan at this stage of the season and get a result. Next round will be tough.
Player Ratings:

Gordon 6 – Had one shot to deal with and he dealt with it.

Tierney 6 – Solid performance apart from the communication lapse with Sviatchenko.

Sviatchenko 6 – Solid. Looked dangerous from set pieces but lack of pace could be exploited.

Lustig 7 – Good goal and was a good link between attack and defence.

McGregor 5 – Uncharacteristically poor in front of goal and misplaced a number of passes. Not the worst but he can be better.

Brown 5 – Ponderous on the ball and some utterly woeful passes offset by some decent through balls. Overall, a weak display.

Armstrong 7 – Excellent game. Looked dangerous going forward and some brilliant touches on the edge of the box.

Forrest 6 – Wasn’t terrible and looked quite lively in the first 15 or so minutes, but it was exactly what you would expect from a James Forrest display. Aimless runs and meagre end product. Hasn’t made the step up in the previous 7 years and doesn’t look as if he’s going to now.

Roberts 6 – Goal was a piece of brilliance but same problems as last season. Poor passing but looked a real threat most of the game. Defenders eventually sussed him out, as is often the case, and his effectiveness waned.

Dembélé 5 – Couldn’t hit a barn door regardless as to how often his team-mates laid it on a plate. He’ll have better days I’m sure.

Griffiths 7 – He’s paid to score. He did that.

Subs:

Izaguirre – This farewell tour is dragging a bit now. If he can’t cross as a left-back then he’s not much use as a winger.

Ajer – Never put under any real pressure in defence so it’s hard to make a judgement.

Çiftçi – Could have made a bit more of the limited chances he had but he looks determined and a bit livelier than Dembélé.

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