Celtic have one foot in the Europa League knockout stages after a vital 1-0 away victory over Rosenborg. The result leaves the Scottish champions needing just one point from their final group game at home to Red Bull Salzburg to advance.
The Austrian side defeated sister club RB Leipzig 1-0 tonight, a result which was a massive boost to the Glasgow side. Salzburg have guaranteed top place in the group with the win, meaning they will have nothing to play for at Celtic Park in two weeks time.
While Leipzig's defeat was a major boost, it would have meant little had Celtic failed to get a result in Norway. They duly obliged however, ending an unwanted Europa League record in the process.
🍀 Celtic had never won a Europa League away game (D8 L8) before tonight...
The Bhoys remain on course to qualify, needing just a point against Salzburg at home! pic.twitter.com/yBySggeDXK
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 29, 2018
With Celtic dominating possession right from the outset, Scott Sinclair's goal late in the first half gave his team the lead. It was a well-worked move from Brendan Rodgers' side, with James Forrest providing a inch-perfect cross for the former Swansea man to nod home.
While it was nervy at times near the end, Celtic never really looked like relinquishing their lead. Rosenborg failed to register a single shot on target in the game, with the visitors boating 63% possession in the contest.
This improved ball retention was key to the victory, as it allowed the Scottish champions to take the sting out of the inevitable Rosenborg fightback. The team have often failed to hold onto possession during away ties in Europe, something that has contributed to their poor record in these games.
Job done Celtic. Professional performance and a clean sheet away from home. Salzburg done us a favour as well. Great night 🇮🇪
— Liam McLaughlan (@LiamMcLaughlan) November 29, 2018
.@btsportfootball Outstanding performance from Celtic and let’s hope they celebrate with their fans who made the trip👏👏let’s hope the Norwegian’s don’t get offended ...
— Chris Sutton (@chris_sutton73) November 29, 2018
Btw if you watch that Rosenborg v Celtic game back you’ll see a convincing away victory at this level. Gordon did not have one save to make! Defence rock solid. Midfield bossed game. Goal from Sinky and he showed for ball all game. Top performance from Celtic
— E-Tims (@ETimsNet) November 29, 2018
Dominant performance from Celtic and far more comfortable than 1-0 suggests.
Improvement again with ball retention and defensive concentration, both factors which have contributed to our woeful away record in Europe.
— DON'T T4OUBLE T4EBLE (@SteinReigned) November 29, 2018
Celtic are now well poised to claim a spot in the last 32, and they will be hoping to improve on their exit to Zenit St Petersburg at the same stage last season.
Whether they achieve that feat could depend largely on the kindness of the draw they receive, with a number of big hitters remaining in the competition. The likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and AC Milan are still present, with a number of Champions League teams also set to enter the fray.
Tonight's performance will no doubt inspire confidence in the Celtic support, and they will be hoping for a deep run in European competition for the first time in well over a decade.