Post-Match Reaction with A Celtic State of Mind – Storm Ciara couldn’t derail this Celtic machine

ANDREW RAFFERTY:

Neil Lennon rang the changes for today’s match, but it was the first-team regulars who had the biggest impact in the first-half.

James Forrest was a constant source of danger down the right, linking well with Moritz Bauer in the process, while Olivier Ntcham delivered the first goal: a great birthday present. Celtic kept the pressure on and Captain Fantastic Scott Brown nicked a goal just before half-time to make it 2-0.

Mo Elyounoussi visibly improved as the game progressed, with some great movement in and around the box, as Celtic searched for their third. Bayo replaced new signing Klimala who spurned a couple of decent chances through the game. Vakoun Issouf Bayo also had a couple of decent chances for himself before taking his third in injury time to make it 3-0, following some great work by Bauer.

Neil Lennon will be pleased at the result, apparent lack of injuries, and the performances of many of the fringe /returning players. We are looking strong as we head towards the sharp end of the season.

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KEVIN TAIT:

Celtic produced a professional job in what were undoubtedly the toughest conditions they have played in all season.

It was great to see Mo Elyounoussi getting 85 minutes under his belt, as the Norwegian internationalist has the ability to make a huge impact for Celtic in the remaining domestic and European fixtures.

Olivier Ntcham, who opened the scoring at Broadwood, is now looking settled in the team and it will be difficult to leave him out on this form.

Celtic got the job done without any fuss and can look forward to a trip to Perth to face St Johnstone in the quarter-finals.

COLIN WATT:

Professional job but pretty flat. I guess it’s a show of how many games we’re going through just now that there’s a reluctance to get out of second gear.

Vakoun Issouf Bayo did more in 10 minutes than Patryk Klimala did the whole of the game.

Olivier Ntcham is absolutely different gravy and, if he would be more solid in the tackle, then he’d be the ideal replacement for Scott Brown.

The draw has been kind to us and we have to capitalise on that.

It was good to hear that Nir Bitton and Hatem Abd Elhamed are back training tomorrow, as competition for places should push us onwards.

KEVIN GRAHAM:

It was difficult not to think of two moments in our history when this draw was made.

The first was the 1955 Scottish Cup Final, the first televised live and watched by a ‘disappointing’ crowd of only 106,000. The game ended in a draw, with the Clyde equaliser coming straight from a corner kick and little help from John Bonnar in the Celtic goal. The replay saw Celtic make numerous changes at the behest of domineering chairman Bob Kelly. Bobby Collins was dropped for what Kelly thought was unsporting behaviour in the first game. Celtic lost the replay 1-0.

Jock Stein played in both games and these and other incidences filled his mind when he became manager. He faced up to Kelly, telling him that his days of interfering with team selections were over and went on to create the greatest Scottish side ever.

The second was when Roy Keane sat in the Broadwood dressing room, listening to the chaos of celebration exploding next door. While bending down to take off boots, he discovered that his jersey still had a manufacturer’s tag on it. His thoughts of retirement suddenly became a viable option.

That midfield of Keane and Neil Lennon dominated in a victory at Ibrox a few weeks later and went on to be league champions by a distance.

Lennon once more visited Broadwood this afternoon, hoping that our ninth league championship in-a-row is the gold at the end of the rainbow, but this time we progressed in the Scottish Cup and kept the dream of a quadruple treble burning.

The manager has won every available trophy since returning after naked ambition outweighed legacy in Brendan Rodgers’ decision-making process. He masterminded home and away wins against Lazio in the Europa League. That early autumn evening in Rome, when 9000 Celts flipped and flopped all round the Stadio Olympico after Olivier Ntcham’s winner, is already preserved in Celtic folklore.

He and the club have responded and not reacted to the reinvigorated challenge that we have faced this season. We have new players who haven’t been over this course before. The recently closed transfer window saw us spend £5.5m on two players who are still in the development stages of their careers. The club has been calm and true to the policy that has brought 10 trophies in a row in the face of pressure to look more short term.

The Scottish Cup is the most romantic competition for Celtic fans. It plays a major part in our stories and songs. Two of the last three finals have seen moments where the world slowed down and we slid into a dream-like state as Tom Rogic and Odsonne Edouard both found themselves through on goal just before tasting the everlasting feeling that is a cup-winning memory.

While previous defeats to Clyde have led to successes, we are in an unprecedented period in Celtic’s history. We have now won 33 cup games on the bounce and that is down to determination and incredible resilience of the players and coaching staff. Having the same hunger year after year, the will to go again when the pressure is increasing every time they step onto the pitch means we are seeing something that won’t be repeated. Once this is gone it will be celebrated for generations.

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