Celtic faced off against AIK in the UEFA Europa League playoffs earlier tonight hoping to secure a positive result in front of their home supporters inside Celtic Park. The Glaswegian outfit dominated possession in the first half and created some decent goal-scoring opportunities. However, they failed to unlock the visitors’ defence before half-time.
Neil Lennon’s men made a quick start to the second half and managed to make the breakthrough via James Forrest’s smart finish in the 48th minute. The home side doubled their lead in the 73rd minute when Odsonne Edouard scored from a free-kick.
Celtic managed to maintain their two goal advantage as the match finished with the final scoreline of 2-0 in favour of the Glaswegian giants after the full-time whistle. Lennon will now fancy his side’s chances of progression ahead of the second leg away in Sweden later this month.
Let’s take a look at how each Celtic player performed during the encounter against AIK.
GK: Craig Gordon – 6/10
He was hardly troubled at the back as the AIK attackers failed to give him a real test tonight. To his credit, Gordan distributed the ball accurately and was rewarded with a clean sheet to show for his efforts.
RB: Kristoffer Ajer – 7/10
Ajer was played out of position due to Hatem Abd Elhamed’s injury. However, he still managed to put in a tireless shift at right-back and was a decent outlet for his team going forward.
CB: Christopher Jullien – 7/10
He kept his composure under pressure and put in a dominant defensive display at the heart of Lennon’s backline.
CB: Jozo Simunovic – 7/10
The Croat centre-back was able to establish a solid partnership with Ajer and Julien and didn’t put a foot wrong in the match.
LB: Boli Bolingoli Mbombo – 7.5/10
The young left-back was outstanding in the first half as he made some brilliant lung-bursting runs down the left flank. He also played his part in the lead up to Forrest’s goal early in the second half. Some might say he was due a good performance but today’s showing would go a long way towards Mbombo trying to make the left-back slot his own.
CM: James Forrest – 8/10
The Scottish midfield ace gave his team the all-important lead just three minutes into the second half when he found the back of the net from close range.
CM: Scott Brown – 6/10
The Celtic captain looked assured in midfield and put in a commanding display tonight. He broke down a lot of AIK attacks at the middle of the park.
CM: Callum McGregor – 6.5/10
He made some dangerous driving runs from midfield but was unfortunate not to have scored tonight.
RW: Ryan Christie – 8/10
He worked his socks off and was a constant threat in the opposition half. It was quite a memorable performance from him in a Celtic shirt.
ST: Odsonne Edouard – 9/10
Edouard produced a superb free-kick to hand his team a commanding two-goal in the tie. The French striker was by far the best player on the pitch as he wreaked havoc inside the AIK penalty area.
LW: Michael Johnston – 8/10
His quick runs down the left-wing caused a lot of headaches for the visitors during the game.
CM: Olivier Ntcham – N/A
The Celtic midfielder did enough to see out the victory for his team.
LW: Lewis Morgan – N/A
He hardly had any time to make an impact.
ST: Vakoun Issouf Bayo – N/A
The striker came on to run the clock down for the home side.