herald

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Celtic see off Reykjavik on Deila's debut

Ronny Deila
Ronny Deila

YOUNGSTERS Callum McGregor scored a late winner to give Ronny Deila the perfect start to his Celtic career with a 1-0 win away to KR Reykjavik in the first leg of their Champions League qualifier.

It looked like being a night of frustration for the Hoops as KR put up the shutters but with six minutes left to play McGregor cut in from the right flank then tucked a low left shot into the net from the edge of the penalty box.

That goal should make next week's return leg at Murrayfield a formality with the tie switched to Edinburgh with Celtic Park staging the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.

Deila's debut was marked by an unexpected appearance by Dermot Desmond with the club's biggest shareholder usually sighted at the more glamorous arenas that Celtic have frequented in recent Champions League campaigns.

There was one surprise in Deila's starting line up with McGregor, who was on loan at Notts County last season, given his first competitive appearance leaving internationals Beram Kayal and Derk Boerrigter on the bench alongside Eoghan O'Connell.

Anthony Stokes led the line backed up by McGregor on the left, Kris Commons in an advanced role and Leigh Griffiths on the right in front of a midfield anchor of captain Charlie Mulgrew and Stefan Johansen.

The first chance of the match fell to Commons in the eighth minute with his spectacular 30-yard volley crashing off the crossbar following a pass from Griffiths.

Midway through the first half Fraser Forster was called on to make his first save getting down to his left to hold a 25-yard shot from former Middlesbrough striker Gary Martin.

Just past the half hour mark Stokes got his first glimpse of goal but rushed his shot over the bar from a Commons pass.

Just like last season Commons was Celtic's most creative player but was getting little out of his team-mates. Teemu Pukki hit the post when he should have scored.

And Griffiths rattled the crossbar on 72 minutes but the win was secured by McGregor's strike.

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