Celtic starting eleven: Zaluksa, Lustig, van Dijk, Mulgrew, Twardzik, Brown, Johansen, Commons, McGeouch, Stokes, Boerrigter
Celtic’s second game of pre season finished with a 1-1 draw against Rapid Vienna in front of a very atmospheric crowd at the Gerhard Hanappi Stadion.
Ronny Deila named the same starting eleven to play this game as he did against Krasnodar. He was forced to make a substitution just after the game kicked off when Brown had to go off injured. Losing captain Brown is a major concern for Celtic going into the Champions League Qualifiers but Kayal came on for him and looked good. If Kayal gets a run of games for Celtic and keeps the momentum going I think he has the potential to be a key player for Celtic this season.
Celtic fell a goal behind when van Dijk headed a Rapid Vienna free kick into his own goal past Zaluska on the 8th minute. In the previous game against Krasnodar I felt that Celtic were not defending set plays well at all but in this instance van Dijk rose above everyone else to win the header and he was highly unlucky that his clearing header went into the goal. Throughout the game though I felt van Dijk and Mulgrew played well in central defence and it is encouraging to see.
After the goal Celtic gained control of possession and started moving the ball about quickly, like they did against Krasnodar in stages. Celtic finally had a shot on goal which came from Stokes just outside the box but it was a weak shot and the Rapid Vienna goal keeper easily saved it.
Celtic grew in confidence as the first half went on and came close to goal through a Commons free kick. Boerrigter embarrassingly missed and open goal after Stokes went clean through on goal and unselfishly laid it off for Boerrigter but he unbelievably put it past the post. Boerrigter was making some good progress in this game, sprinting down the left wing but his final ball was lacking at stages and hopefully we can just put the open goal miss to abit of rustiness. He does really need to improve this season and I think he will.
One player who has really impressed me over the last couple of games is Twardzik at left back. He does not do anything special but he does his job well. He may not bomb forward as much as Izaguirre does at left back but he is a more than suitable replacement which means that Mulgrew can have a settled position at centre back alongside van Dijk rather than being drafter out to left back if Izaguirre is injured.
Celtic had a late chance to equalise in the first half from a corner which found the head of McGeouch who headed it wide. I feel like McGeouch has so much energy and when he does not get the ball outwide he drifts in field and leaves a whole out of the right which he isn’t there when the ball is finally ready to come to him. I think he would do better in central midfield but Celtic are very strong in that area so it will be tricky for him to get into the first team in that position.
The second half started and Celtic began to control the game much better than they did in the first half and their domination nearly paid off when Commons hit a half volley from outside the box which the goalkeeper saved.
It was then Rapid Vienna’s turn to have chances as they tested Zaluska with a couple of shots. This brings me onto another point. Celtic’s goalkeeping options are looking very good this season with Forster, Zaluska, new signing Gordan, and youth team goalkeeper, Fasan. Zaluska has impressed me in these two pre season games and I would not worry having him as goalkeeper this season, in saying that though I hope Forster stays at Celtic and continues to be the No. 1.
Celtic made 7 changes on the 62nd minute with Zaluksa, Johansen, Lustig, Stokes, McGeouch, Commons and Boerrigter going off and being replaced by Fasan, Balde, McGregor, Griffiths, Matthews and Pukki.
The new players coming on certainly livened up the game with Matthews making some good surging runs down the right wing. One of his runs led to Celtic’s equaliser when he crossed the ball into the box along the ground and found Pukki who’s first shot was saved but finished off the rebound to make it 1-1.
Matthews set up McGregors goal in the previous match against Krasnodar and his attacking intentions will be an asset to Celtic this season.
Both teams tried to find a winner but neither could as the game fizzled out to a 1-1 draw. More progress being made by Celtic which is good to see, they were patient and didn’t lose concentration after going a goal behind early on. The partnership between van Dijk and Mulgrew in central defence looks promising. Kayal looks to be getting back to his best. Would like to see more impact made from the wide players though. Overall though a 1-1 draw is not a bad result and next up is LSK Linz.