CELTIC saved the very best for last and rounded off a frustrating Champions League campaign at Parkhead tonight with a morale-boosting triumph over Feyenoord which ended their 15 game winless run against Europe’s elite.

Their hopes of finishing in the top three of Group E and progressing to the knockout rounds of either this competition or the Europa League may have been ended with defeat to Lazio in Rome a fortnight ago.

Still, they were, having not recorded a victory since they beat Anderlecht away in 2017 or picked up three points at home since they edged out Ajax away back in 2013, still determined to finish on a high.

They duly did so in dramatic fashion.   

Brendan Rodgers’ team took the lead in the first half after French referee Benoit Bastien ruled that Liam Scales had been fouled by Ramiz Zerrouki. Luis Palma made no mistake with his penalty kick.

Yankuba Minteh levelled with eight minutes of regulation time remaining and it looked very much as if a late goal was going to cost the Scottish champions dear once again. But substitute Gustaf Lagerbielke headed home a Matt O’Riley cross in injury-time to send the sell-out crowd wild.

Celtic lived dangerously on occasion and had their goalkeeper Joe Hart, who had produced a several outstanding saves, to thank for keeping them in front. Still, they created plenty going forward themselves. Nobody could begrudge them the result. Here are five talking points from the encounter. 


The Celtic starting line-up was exactly as expected apart from in one position - Stephen Welsh was preferred to both Nat Phillips and Lagerbielke at centre half alongside Liam Scales.

The 23-year-old has previous experience of playing against top class continental opposition having started in a Champions League group stage match against RB Leipzig away in Germany last term and featured extensively in the Europa League in the two season before that.

But he had played just 45 minutes of football in the 2023/24 campaign – he came on for Cameron Carter-Vickers at half-time in the Premiership game against Aberdeen at Pittodrie way back in August.

The Herald: Celtic winger Luis Palma celebrates scoring a penalty against Feyenoord in the Champions LeagueThe Scot suffered an ankle ligament injury in training shortly after that which required surgery. Still, his inclusion was unexpected.

Rodgers had defended Liverpool loanee Phillips, who had scored an own goal in the Premiership defeat to Kilmarnock on the artificial pitch at Rugby Park on Sunday, at his pre-match press conference.

Did he want to give his young protégé experience? Had he been impressed with what he had seen in training? Or was it a ruse to get more funds from the board during the transfer window next month?

Welsh found himself in direct opposition to Santiago Gimenez, the Mexican internationalist who had been on target 20 times in 22 appearances in the previous four months. Nothing like easing back into things.

Gimenez showed his class on the counter. He had a goal disallowed for offside and tested Hart on two occasions in the first half. But Welsh and Scales acquitted themselves superbly in difficult circumstances. Especially the latter. The Irishman has blossomed into an accomplished performer at this level. He was a deserved recipient of the Man of the Match award after the final whistle.


Honduran winger Palma is another Celtic player who has gone from strength to strength of late. He was coolness personified as he broke the deadlock. He stroked his spot kick down the middle as Justin Bijlow dived to his right. 

He was unlucky not to add a second after half-time. He had an attempt cleared off the line by the outstretched leg of the keeper. His runs down his flank and deliveries into the box caused Feyenoord problems all evening.

He was replaced by youngster Mitchel Frame, who made his first team debut at the tender age of 17, with 15 minutes remaining after suffering a bloody nose. Daizen Maeda will have serious competition for his place when he is available for selection again.  


Rodgers revealed in the build-up to the game that he had spoken to Kyogo Furuhashi, who he had started on the bench in the league meetings with Hibernian and Kilmarnock, about the importance of resisting the temptation to drop deep.

The Japanese internationalist has, despite netting on eight occasions, not been as effective in recent weeks as he can be and his manager had urged him to concentrate his efforts in the final third during talks at Lennoxtown.

It was a good game to bring him back in. The Dutch giants did not play with the same low block as most of the Scottish clubs which come to Parkhead. Sure enough, the man who had got the better of the Atletico Madrid and Lazio defences looked far more like his old self.

The Herald: He probed relentlessly for an opening from the first minute, forced a fine block from Bijlow after getting on the end of an incredible defence-piercing through ball from, of all people, Scales and supplied his team mates with scoring chances.

The applause Furuhashi received when he was replaced by Oh Hyeon-gyu told a story.


What a time to score your first goal for Celtic. Swedish defender Lagerbielke has hardly featured for the club he joined from AIK in the summer in recent weeks due to the form of Cameron Carter-Vickers and Scales. But he more than justified his signing tonight by claiming a winner which will live long in the memory of everyone in attendance. 


Feyenoord may not be the force they were when they beat Celtic in the San Siro to lift the European Cup back in 1970 – but their fans are as passionate and vocal as any in the world.

No fewer than 5,000 away supporters had travelled from Rotterdam to Glasgow despite there being nothing at stake for their heroes. They drowned out their counterparts with their singing and clapping from kick-off to the final whistle. At one stage, they chanted, ‘Your support is f****** s***!’

The Green Brigade ultras group only have themselves to blame for the ban they have been hit with. It remains to be seen if they will be allowed back in. But the Parkhead atmosphere lacks a certain edge without them.   

The Herald: