Match Report: Celtic 4-1 Standard Liege
Celtic produced a dominant pre-season display as they beat Belgian outfit Standard Liege 4-1, continuing their bright start to the new season.
Brendan Rodgers selected a strong starting XI for the match, with Odsonne Edouard and Moussa Dembele leading the line once again, whereas Craig Gordon was the only player to drop out from the team that beat FC Alashkert, to be replaced by Scott Bain.
The Belgians started on the front foot, with Paulo De Silva going close with an early effort. However, the Hoops grew into the game, with James Forrest looking particularly lively on the right. Kieran Tierney and Edouard too were beginning to impress. Moussa Dembele wasn’t to be left behind though, as he cracked the crossbar after a rasping drive with his left foot from the edge of the box.
However, it was Edouard who opened the scoring, with a beautifully struck curling effort in the 19th minute. Dembele then doubled the Hoops’ advantage seven minutes later, with an audacious chip to leave the Liege keeper helpless.
The strike partners continued to wreak havoc in the final third and looked like scoring every time they got on the ball. Dembele then missed a couple of great chances, while midfielder Callum McGregor too went close without being able to make it three.
However, just on the verge of half-time, the Scotland international fired home after a brilliant pass from Olivier Ntcham released him through.
Celtic changed the entire playing XI for the second period, with the injury-prone Marvin Compper getting some crucial game time. Youngsters likes Scott Allan, Michael Johnston and Stephen Welsh also got a chance.
Liege began strongly after the restart but Celtic continued to keep them at bay and fifteen minutes later, Johnston produced a moment of class, as he chipped the goalkeeper in style to make it 4-0 for the Scottish champions. The youngster continued to pose a threat each time he was on the ball, while Scott Sinclair had a goal chalked off for offside.
Close to thirty minutes into the second period, the Belgians did manage to pull one goal back through Duje Cop. Johnston came close to doubling his tally late in the game, as Celtic controlled the proceedings without breaking a sweat and closed Liege out in what was another dominant display from Rodgers’ brigade.
Here’s how the fans reacted to the splendid victory.
MICHAEL JOHNSON NEEDS TO START MORE
— Reece (@Reece_Mckay_CFC) July 14, 2018
Johnston is a wee star ✨
— Pauline (@BolloBusiness) July 14, 2018
Our first team wins 3-0(good). Our b team draws 1-1 (not bad)
— cfc (@cfc96317967) July 14, 2018
Great performance even from the youth in the second half, joy to watch, shame many didn’t come to see. Onwards and upwards we go right from the off this year, oh, and in other news, Boyata on course for 3rd place medal, it’s definitely not coming home it would seem….
— Danny (@DanTheManMax) July 14, 2018
Still waiting on a centre half
— Number7 (@religionisaclub) July 14, 2018
Magnífico. Best I've seen us in preseason (where we're usually well off the pace) in a very long time. Loving the new formation. Higher risk, but most certainly higher REWARD. Give Cal McGregor the #7 #magnificent7 right now. He was born to wear that shirt.
— Jonny Paterson (@JonnyP77) July 14, 2018