In their first Champions League group stage match in nearly five years, Celtic were taught a lesson. On Tuesday, Real Madrid came to town and defeated them 3-0 in Group F.
Celtic could not have arrived at the game in greater shape. Ange Postecoglou’s club had won all seven games this season, conceding only two goals.
But facing the reigning champions of Europe’s best club championship was always going to be a hard job. In the first half, Celtic were more than a match for their Spanish opponents and could have easily taken the lead.
Real’s class, on the other hand, shone through with goals from Vincius Jr, Luka Modric, and Eden Hazard.
Celtic cannot afford to waste large chances in front of goal against a team of Real Madrid’s calibre. In the first half, Liel Abada and Giorgos Giakoumakis both had chances, while Callum McGregor came agonisingly close with a wonderful effort off the post.
Daizen Maeda, who came on as a half-time substitution, also missed from close range. Teams in the Champions League will not let you miss too many opportunities, and Real came through in the second half.
Celtic may be able to get away with making the occasional error in the Scottish Premiership. Any minor blunder, on the other hand, will be punished on the European stage.
For the first goal, right-back Josip Juranovic was hauled across the pitch to cover for the Celtic center-backs.
Cameron Carter-Vickers was also seen making a reckless challenge on the halfway line only moments before Modric scored the visitors’ second goal.
Celtic must learn to accept less possession in the majority of their group stage encounters. Postecoglou’s team is used to dominating at home, but they cannot expect to do so in Europe.
Celtic were doing everything they could to shut down Real, as is Postecoglou’s attitude. However, clubs of Real Madrid’s calibre are more than capable of beating the press.
Celtic will almost certainly need to win their last two home games in order to qualify for the knockout stage. On October 11, RB Leipzig will visit Celtic Park, followed by Shakhtar Donetsk 14 days later.
They must take advantage of their home crowd.
The atmosphere was electric on Tuesday and certainly played an impact on both side’s performances, especially in the first half.