Celtic
GLASGOW - Supporters of Celtic FC ahead of the Europa League play-offs match between Celtic FC and AZ Alkmaar at Celtic Park on August 18, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. ANP ED OF THE POL Europa League Play-offs 2021/2022 xVIxANPxSportx/xxANPxIVx *** GLASGOW Supporters of Celtic FC ahead of the Europa League play offs match between Celtic FC and AZ Alkmaar at Celtic Park on August 18, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland ANP ED OF THE POL Europa League Play offs 2021 2022 xVIxANPxSportx xxANPxIVx 435804937

High-flying Celtic were up against AZ Alkmaar tonight in a crucial Europa League play-off at Paradise. The Hoops aimed for a commanding victory in front of the home crowd and be in the driver’s seat before next midweek’s return leg encounter.

It was a hard-fought yet commanding win for the hosts who exhibited their all-round ability to cement a 2-0 win in the first leg fixture.

Below are the Celtic players rated in their comprehensive 2-0 win against AZ Alkmaar.

Joe Hart: 8

The resurgence of Joe Hart has been majestic as he not only proved his excellence between the sticks with an array of stunning saves but also led the backline from the last line of defence.

Anthony Ralston: 7.5

The Hoops are closing in on Josip Juranovic and the arrival of the Croatian might jeopardise Ralston’s first-team role despite a promising start. The young Scot tried his best to contribute upfront with marauding runs, but he had a few nervy occasions while defending deep down the right-hand flank. He made up for it in the second half though with a goal-saving tackle moments after being booked by the referee.

Stephen Welsh: 7.5

Made some crucial tackles and clearances to nullify AZ’s attacking moves. Looked calm with the ball on his feet, also defended well under pressure. Went close to finding the net with a header.

Carl Starfelt: 7

Had a shocking outing against Hearts but he delivered a much-improved display while defending set-pieces and blocking shots. Still needs to do better in terms of positioning and passing game.

Greg Taylor: 7

A balanced display from the Scotsman who played it safe with timely recoveries and defensive contribution. Did not offer much high up the pitch as he mostly operated from his own half.

Callum McGregor: 7.5

Was spot on with his tackles, kept on winning duels and made some down the middle runs to link up in the advanced areas of the pitch. AZ dominated possession at times, but the skipper did not allow them to build up moves from the centre of the park.

Celtic right-back Anthony Ralston fighting for the ball
GLASGOW – lr, Zakaria Aboukhlal of AZ, Anthony Ralston of Celtic FC during the Europa League play-offs match between Celtic FC and AZ Alkmaar at Celtic Park on August 18, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. ANP ED OF THE POL Europa League Play-offs 2021/2022 xVIxANPxSportx/xxANPxIVx

Tom Rogic: 8

Another impressive display from the Aussie international who was incredible with his cross before Furuhashi’s strike. His runs and dribbles opened up space in the visitors’ half which led to attacking opportunities. He also forced Hobie Verhulst into making some smart saves in the AZ goal. Received a standing ovation from the home crowd while making way for James McCarthy during the final quarter of the contest.

David Turnbull: 7

Covered a lot of ground, did his best to win the ball back and whipped in a few crosses from his wide midfield role. His touches were heavy at times leading to loss of possession and rusty fouls. Was taken off to be replaced by Ismaila Soro in the closing minutes of the match.

Liel Abada: 7

Returned from a minor knock and operated from his usual right-wing role. His swift footwork, directness and cut insides were often causing problems in the opponents’ defence. Had an effort on target denied by Verhulst. Was withdrawn for Odsonne Edouard minutes before the hour mark.

James Forrest: 8

Excellent once again with his experience and expertise down the wide areas. His game-reading trait, the ability to switch positions and the chemistry with Furuhashi led to the second goal of the night.

Kyogo Furuhashi: 8.5

Unstoppable right now as he once again depicted his exquisite poaching skill by converting Rogic’s cross. Set it up beautifully for Forrest who doubled the lead via a big deflection. Worked hard to win the ball back and play his part in the attacking transitions. Received plaudits from the supporters while making way for Adam Montgomery with 15 minutes remaining.

Celtic Subs Vs AZ Alkmaar

Odsonne Edouard: 6.5

Came close to finding the net in the closing moments of the game.

James McCarthy: 6

Attuning to new surroundings and the minutes earned in the second half would help him settle in quicker.

Adam Montgomery: 6

A good few minutes for the youngster once again as he is gaining enormous experience in his breakthrough season.

Ismaila Soro: NA

Played too little to warrant a rating.

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