THEY arrived wearing the red jerseys of the ‘shame game’ of 1974, in what many in Glasgow interpreted as a provocative gesture. They left with plenty of reasons to remember this night, too, which Celtic will recall with a mixture of pride and more than a tinge of regret that they didn’t get more than the solitary point for their efforts.

Twice they led, through a quite sensational Kyogo Furuhashi opener after just four minutes, and then through a brilliant Luis Palma strike, but twice they were pinned back.

Antione Greizmann got the first after Joe Hart was desperately unlucky to see his save from the French superstar’s penalty rebound off the post and land back at his feet to convert.

Then, after the break, Alvaro Morata was deadly as he tucked away a header at the back stick from a lovely Marcos Llorente cross.

It was harsh on Celtic, but at least a late Rodrigo De Paul red card lessened the jeopardy of another last gasp sickener a la Lazio last time out.

Here are the talking points from a pulsating Champions League night at Celtic Park…

If anyone doubted Celtic’s capacity to do damage to the best defences in Europe, then they would only have to see the quality of their goals here to realise their folly. Both were works of art, fit to grace any stage.

The first was all about the vision and quality of Matt O’Riley, allied to the crafty movement and composure of Kyogo. The pair exchanged two quickfire one-twos on the edge of the Atletico area, with the last pass a defence splitting first-time ball from O’Riley that had Kyogo in on Jan Oblak. Amid the maelstrom, he was ice cool, improvising a dinked finish into the far corner that sent Celtic Park wild.

In years to come, the signing of O’Riley from the bargain basement of MK Dons will surely be looked back on as one of the club’s best pound for pound buys, and likely turn them one of their best ever profits too.

After the body blow of the Atletico equaliser, Celtic showed grit and resolve to hit back again. And once more, real quality, too.

The relentless Daizen Maeda and Palma switched wings to instant effect. Greg Taylor got the move rolling, making amends for his penalty concession with a great ball for Maeda to scamper in behind down the right and swing a centre across goal that everyone missed.

Everyone but Palma, that is, who picked up the scraps and fashioned a thing of beauty, steadying himself before smashing home off the far post.

These were goals fit to win any match. But, alas…


It is the unwelcome yin to Celtic’s attacking yang at this level that they have a propensity for giving their opponents an inch that they invariably convert into a mile.

It was the unfortunate Taylor who was the fall guy on this occasion, clipping the heels of Nahuel Molina in the area to concede the penalty that Griezmann eventually converted at the second attempt for Atletico’s first equaliser, and then hesitating just for a split second in the lead up to their second.

That little step backwards was all the invitation that Marcos Llorente – a half-time substitute who made a huge impact on proceedings – needed. He swung a beautiful ball away from Hart and onto the head of Morata at the back post, who improvised a clever finish into the top corner to deflate Celtic Park once more.


Just three minutes after Celtic’s opening goal, there was a huge blow for the Scottish champions as Hatate went down in midfield, and it soon became clear that not only would he be unable to continue, but that there might be further long-term injury worries for the Japanese.

He was visibly upset as he left the field to be replaced Bernardo, and was given a consolatory hug by manager Brendan Rodgers that lingered long enough to hint at the gravity of the problem.

On the positive side, Bernardo showed enough here that he might well be an able deputy, despite his own lack of minutes in his legs.

He covered every blade of grass as he harried and harassed the Atletico players into uncharacteristic mistakes, before his lack of game time began to show as the match wore on. He wasn’t alone in that regard, though…

It had been a phenomenal effort from the Celtic players just to live with one of the finest sides in La Liga, and by extension, the entire continent. They had come blasting out of the traps and went stride for stride with their illustrious opponents, but as the clock ticked past the hour it became clear that more than a few were getting leg weary.

Manager Brendan Rodgers decided to switch to a 3-5-2, bringing on Nat Phillips for Palma, and that helped them steady the ship. Their cause was then aided with around 10 minutes to go as De Paul was made to pay for an earlier booking for dissent as he picked up a second caution for a trip on Bernardo. But Celtic couldn't find their own last action hero.


It ended up a mere footnote to the evening in the end, but what the Green Brigade lack in subtly, they certainly make up for with a flair for spectacle.

Any notion that the ultras group would heed their club’s pleas not to visibly display their support for Palestine was dashed the moment you entered the stadium (though realistically, long before), with ponchos being laid out forming the Palestinian flag long before kick-off.

Thereafter, dozens of huge Palestinian flags were marched into place down the entire length of the pitch, in a brazen demonstration that could be interpreted both as a visible showing of their solidarity with a cause, and symbolically, as two great fingers being held up to the club’s board.

The bad blood between the Celtic hierarchy and this particular section of the support is running hot following the recent ban on the Green Brigade attending away fixtures, and that row looks set to rumble on.