Relentless Celtic light up to keep their Europa League hopes alive

Relentless Celtic light up to keep their Europa League hopes alive

Celtic 2 RB Leipzig 1 – Odsonne Edouard hits winner as Hoops get their Europa League campaign back on track

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Europa League Tips: On-form Celtic can keep Leipzig in sight

The Frenchman fired Brendan Rodgers men ahead less than a minute after Jean-Kevin Augustin had levelled for the visitors

Brendan Rodgers excited by Celtics must-win game with RB Leipzig after turnaround in form

But by the end of a pulsating evening of action Brendan Rodgers was left saluting a Celtic collective superior to Leipzig.

Kieran Tierney and Odsonne Edouard got the goals to give boss Rodgers arguably his best home win in Europe for the Hoops over the Bundesligas current fourth top side.

Jean-Kevin Augustin had threatened heart-break with a 78th minute goal to cancel out Tierneys early effort – but seconds later Edouard pounced to revive Europa League qualifying hopes.

Steven Gerrard takes his side to a Spartak Moscow club that seems in crisis -on and off the field – and should be able to take advantage by at least drawing but have been hit with a blow as Ryan Kent has a hamstring injury and will be out for a few weeks.

The Hoops are back to their phenomenal best on the home front – banging in 23 goals in five games, conceding only two.

That record going into kick-off was far from dazzling; a paltry three wins from 23 ties and 15 defeats.

Chelsea beat BATE at home thanks to a Ruben Loftus-Cheek hat-trick and should stroll to victory in the return in Belarus. They have a 100 per cent record and victory will qualify them with two games to spare.

Leipzig also werent exactly short of belief – coming to Glasgow unbeaten in 10 matches in all competitions.

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But if there was apprehension against Ralf Rangnicks fast-flowing outfit then it certainly didnt show as the Hoops produced a storming opening 11 minutes – and grabbed a stunning lead.

If Celtic can cut out mistakes at the back – and Filip Benkovic should help there – they could pick up a point in a score draw that pays 6-1 at bet365.

Celtic were at it from the start, Ryan Christie sliding in for a ferocious challenge on Marcel Sabitzer which was barely legal.

Despite the Germans stingy defence Celtic have shown enough up front recently to believe they can score and are 2-5 to do so and 2-1 at bet365 to net 2+.

Leipzigs style of play was far more attractive to watch than their blue jersey-yellow short kit combination and all over the pitch they had pace and quality.

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Craig Gordon was forced to dive to his left in the eighth minute to push away a Sabitzer left foot shot from 20-yards.

Callum McGregor caught out the Leipzig defence with a quickly taken free-kick across to James Forrest and burst past left-back Marcelo Saracchi before firing the ball across the box.

There were no takers – but it drifted to Tierney on the far side and after quickly controlling it 12-yards out he hammered a low left foot shot beyond the despairing hand of keeper Yvon Mvogo into the net.

Leipzig, however, were a constant threat – and Celtic were grateful to No1 Gordon for tremendous courage in the 16th minute.

At least theyve turned up the temperature ahead of a visit from RB Leipzig and Brendan Rodgerss men have a bit of hope.

The veteran shot-stopper dived out to meet a Nordi Mukiele ball across the six-yard line knowing full well he could get clattered and he did – with Augustin sliding in with his studs up and crashing into the Celt.

Everyone held their breath for a split second as Gordon lay motionless and Augustin was booked by ref Javier Estrada. Thankfully, the Scotland star recovered to applause.

The Scottish champions are in desperate need of a home win against the Bundesliga outfit in the Europa League, after following up an opening Group B victory over Rosenborg with away losses to both Red Bull Salzburg and their sister club Leipzig.

Forrest tormented the Leipzig back-line all game, consistently flying down the right wing and demonstrating great footwork allied to dangerous deliveries.

Youssouf Mulumbu is available again but unlikely to start, Mikey Johnston is sidelined with a niggle, while Ntcham is almost certain to miss out despite travelling back to France for specialist treatment on a hamstring problem.

Tierney and Scott Sinclair combined extremely well before the Celts left-back teed up Tom Rogic for a 20-yard shot which flew over.

And Rodgers, who will almost certainly be without injured midfielder Olivier Ntcham, did not attempt to minimise the challenge faced by his team – with the 2-0 loss in Germany still fresh in the memory just a fortnight ago.

A superb Edouard run on the half hour saw him determinedly shrug off two challenges and get to the byeline to win a corner.

If we could do it we would to do it in a certain way. How they want to do it is a good way. They want to develop infrastructure and they are competing at the very top level of the game where everyone spends money.

But Celtic had to constantly be viligant to the counter attack and Filip Benkovic took a good booking for the team with a hand-ball to block a potentially killer pass from Bruma.

Rodgers, asked about the fresh claims regarding Manchester City and PSG, both of whom have faced Celtic in the Champions League in recent seasons, said: Its football. Clubs will always find a way.

However, moments later Forrest once again tore into the Leipzig half and won a free-kick in great position from which Edouard, frustratingly, couldnt capitalise.

If you are looking man for man, theyre better than us, he said. Simple. Thats why theyre third in the Bundesliga and why theyll be challenging in domestic and, probably, European competition.

Leipzig had gifted Slovenian ace Kevin Kampl on – but Celtic blew a gilt-edged 48th minute opportunity to go two up.

Sinclair raced clear from an Edouard flick-on but took an age to get a shot away while inside the box and he was promptly blocked and the danger cleared.

If we get a win then we still have an opportunity (to progress). If we dont then it is extremely difficult. If we win our next two games then well have given ourselves every chance.

As the rain came down heavily the ball zipped up and down the pitch and both defences were constantly having to turn and repel attacks.

However, Rodgers insists theres no point crying about the wealth divide in European football – despite allegations of leading clubs breaking UEFAs own Financial Fair Play rules.

Edouard brought the best out of Mvogo in the 56th minute after taking a Rogic pass, turning and firing in a low shot.

Celtics work-rate all over the pitch was outstanding – McGregor and Christie stalking Leipzigs attackers and breaking up many dangerous moments.

While tonight will be about trying to narrow the gap against Leipzig, there appears to be little sign of the financial chasm between Europes haves and havenots closing.

The Germans piled on the pressure going into the last 20 minutes and some of the Hoops defending was desperate and heroic.

What they have had to do is spend it quickly in order to grow quickly. If you dont have those resources you have to find other ways but you still have to keep growing.

McGregors made his name here with his craft – but the tireless midfielder memorably put his body on the line to block a fierce-some Leipzig shot.

Everyone always associates pressure with a negative. Ive always tried to say its positive. Its great, lets go and enjoy it, see if we can get the three points.

Unsurprisingly, weariness started to show in each team, the effort put in by the players had been epic.

Of course the game is quicker. The speed of the game goes up and it catches our players out sometime, going from one level to the very, very top level of the game.

Edouard burst into the Leipzig box in the 73rd minute and unleashed a right foot shot which ricocheted off a defender and flashed inches past the far post.

And five minutes later Leipzig piled on the agony with a leveller – an unmarked Augustin rising at the far post to head home a pinpoint Laimer cross.

Sinclair picked out Christie who raced to the byeline and slid across a cutback for Edouard to tap home from six yards.

The drama, though, was unrelenting – and Kampl rattled Gordons crossbar with a left foot blast from 14-yards.

Keep up to date with ALL the latest news and transfers from Scottish football plus fixtures, results and live match commentary 

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