Full Time: FK Suduva 1-1 Celtic
Celtic were held to a 1-1 draw against FK Suduva in the first-leg of their play-off in Lithuania despite an early opener from Olivier Ntcham.
Ntcham got Celtic off to a perfect start in the ARVI Football Arena when he headed in a Mikey Johnston cross in the third minute. However, Suduva midfielder Ovidijus Verbickas levelled in the 13th minute via a header, which would have certainly frustrated Brendan Rodgers.
Suduva goalkeeper Ivan Kardum made a series of saves as Celtic dominated the first half. The draw leaves Rodgers’ men with some work to do at Parkhead next week.
Celtic Player Ratings
Craig Gordon – 6/10
He was beaten by an Ovidijus Verbickas’ header but has kept Celtic in the tie with a couple of crucial blocks in the second half.
Cristian Gamboa – 5/10
Gamboa was rewarded for his fine performance at Firhill with a start against FK Suduva. Worked diligently but couldn’t produce the same performance and was replaced by Izaguirre in the second-half.
Kristoffer Ajer – 6/10
Ajer could have given Celtic an unassailable lead had he taken the chances that fell to him. Defensively, he was naïve and he could have done much better with a calmer, experienced head beside him in defence.
Jozo Simunovic – 4/10
Another dismal outing where Simunovic failed to complete the basic defensive duties. He was hauled off after the break.
Kieran Tierney – 6/10
Tierney was a lively presence on the left, constantly threatening the opposition with his overlapping runs.
Scott Brown – 5/10
Brown worked his socks off in the middle of the park and made his presence felt. Screened the defence well but didn’t contribute much to the attack.
Olivier Ntcham – 6/10
Gave Celtic the perfect start with a fine header inside three minutes but other than that, Ntcham was wasteful in possession. His passing was not crisp and failed to dominate the proceedings in the second half.
Callum McGregor – 6/10
McGregor couldn’t bring his creativity to the table in the first half. After the break, he looked anonymous as the game just passed by him.
James Forrest – 5/10
Forrest forced the goalkeeper into a solid save in the first half. Tried to create things after the interval but the hosts defended very well.
Mikey Johnston – 7/10
Johnston made his first European start for Celtic and the youngster took just three minutes to justify his selection. He assisted Ntcham’s header and saw his header saved in the opening period. The 19-year-old showed plenty of promise as he worked diligently off the ball.
Moussa Dembele – 6/10
Came back into the starting XI but endured a tough time playing up front as a lone striker. Made some good runs into the box as his movement was a constant threat to the Suduva defenders. Had a couple of half chances but the Frenchman needs to produce in such games.
Mikael Lustig – 3/10
Lustig replaced the injured Simunovic after the break. Didn’t do much other than a casual back pass deep in the game that could have been costly.
Leigh Griffiths – 4/10
Griffiths tried to combine with Dembele but it never clicked.
Read more: 3 Top quality signings Celtic could complete before transfer deadline including West Brom star
Emilio Izaguirre – 4/10
The Honduran was booked shortly after he came onto the field and was lucky not to receive the marching orders for a high tackle.