Angel Postecoglou’s tenure as Celtic boss began with an incident-strewn 1-1 draw with Midtjylland as both sides ended the Champions League qualifiers with 10 men.
The signing of New Hoops Liel Abada, the 19-year-old Israeli winger, marked his competitive debut scoring in the 37th minute of the first leg at Parkhead.
However, Celtic defender Nir Bitton dampened the enthusiasm of 9,000 home fans when he was sent off at the end of the first half for unnecessarily receiving the second of two yellow cards for protesting Anders Dreyer after to have
dipped into the box.
The Danish wide player was sent off 10 minutes after the start of the second half for another dive and as the game turned end to end Evander equalized for the visitors in the 66th minute with a whipped free kick to prepare well for the second of next week.
game in Denmark, the away goals rule does not apply this season.
Positive but frustrating start to Postecoglou Parkhead
Celtic’s largest home crowd since the coronavirus restrictions took effect in March 2020 has created a boisterous atmosphere for their team’s first meaningful game of the campaign.
Postecoglou had raised concerns about his team’s fitness and the time it takes to bring new faces into his understaffed squad, but he has fielded his most experienced team almost.
There was a familiar face in the opposition, former Hoops defender Erik Sviatchenko, captain of the Danish team.
There was some concern for Postecoglou in the 10th minute when Bitton, after treating a facial injury following a challenge from striker Junior Brumado, walked up the tunnel leaving the Hoops with 10 men.
Moments later Raphael Nwadike also suffered a head injury after a challenge from Anthony Ralston and both sides were a downed man before both victims returned to the fray.
In the 24th minute, striker Odsonne Edouard fired a turn shot over the bar from the edge of the box.
The game came to life in the 36th minute, however, when Hoops forward Ryan Christie hit the post at close range from an Abada cross, then headed for the same player’s delivery.
A minute later, Abada showed how to proceed when he quickly rebounded into the net after Midtjylland goalkeeper Jonas Lossl parried a powerful strike from Christie. More drama soon followed.
Bitton, booked earlier for a foul on Brumado, was sent off by referee Sandro Scharer for raising his hand on Dreyer after the Midtjylland player appeared to descend too easily into the box.
Dreyer was also booked as 18-year-old defender Dane Murray replaced Abada to make his competitive debut as Postecoglou reshuffled.
Celtic fans cheered when the Danish winger received another yellow when he fell to the edge of the box under the special attention of new Hoops captain Callum McGregor.
Then, as belief returned to Parkhead, the Scottish midfielder grazed the bar from the edge of the box with tremendous practice before Edward was set up to strike Lossl with an unconvincing strike – and Celtic quickly moved on. paid for
After being knocked down by Celtic defender Stephen Welsh 10 yards from the signing line on the left, Brazilian midfielder Evander, who had approached a few minutes earlier with a drive, hammered his free kick in the second post with questions about Parkhead goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas. More huff and puff ensued, but the tie was still up for grabs.
What the manager said …
Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou speaking to the BBC: “It’s a frustrating result. In terms of performance though, I’m more than happy with the players. I thought it was a huge effort.
“We controlled the game well in the first half, we scored our goal and created a few chances before that. We limited them to next to nothing, so obviously we were down to 10 men for a while. , I thought we handled this well, we were nice and compact and created our chances. “
Celtic host West Ham in a pre-season friendly on Saturday at 3 p.m. before heading to FC Midtjylland for the second leg of the Champions League second qualifying round on Wednesday at 6.45 p.m.