Celtic vs Cliftonville Sportscene

Celtic vs Cliftonville

Rob Maclean introduces live coverage from Solitude as Celtic start their UEFA Champions League campaign against Cliftonville.

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throughout Europe and the world by winning the European Championships.


John, you are a mortal. He became the pre-eminent footballer not only


of written and Europe but of the world. He is not only a memory or a


legend, he is a contemporary inspiration for this club. Yes, for


Celtic, another European campaign is about to begin. It seems like note


time since Neil Lennon 's team were winning Scottish cup at Hampden,


seven and a half weeks ago. Now Celtic will hope to take the


first steps towards emulating or maybe even add doing their Champions


League achievements of last season. The Belfast part-timers of


Cliftonville are in weight. With me, two former Celtic striker 's


hoop with Wales and Scotland these days are assistant managers. Before


we hear from them, let's set the scene in Belfast with art


commentators. -- are commentators. Here we are for the first football


match of the season and Celtic's first much in what they hope will be


just like the Champions League campaign, getting to the last 16.


Different surroundings to the last match they had in the Champions


League, which was in the Juventus Stadium in Turin. We are in Northern


Ireland. Celtic can expect a competitive game. Cliftonville are


well-known for being competitive. They are different to the rest of


the Irish league because they try to quite comfortably. They won the


league cup. They have had a good season. Celtic art minus Wanyama who


went to Southampton last week. Also without Mulgrew, Matthews, Ledley


and another art injured, also van Dyck. They are missing a big number


of the team who I think Lennon would have liked to play today. I do not


think Scott Brown has played a lot of football recently. They lost four


preseason games coming into it. A big responsibility on Kris Commons,


James Forrest, Stokes, Samaras. They have to step up to the mark and get


through Cliftonville. This team will fancy their chances. They have to


get at them early on, get the ball and try to use their quality. Neill


has said in the Beeld up -- build-up to the game, needs must. This is the


start of it so he has to make sure he gets through. He has to try to


hurdle and another two after it is to get back to where they were last


season. John, your old team reached the last 16 of the Champions League


last season. Neil Lennon thinks it is crazy they have to make such an


early start to the competition this time around.


Do you agree? You would think they would be rewarded for reaching the


last 16. They have to come in because they are a Scottish team and


they have to plate three qualifying matches to reach the group stages.


That is where they are. They got to the last 16 of the Champions League


last season and they have to go through the same amount of games.


bill think they could not have got Celtic -- Cliftonville think they


could not have got Celtic at a better time given that Celtic are


far from peaking at this stage. think that they know what Celtic art


capable of, regardless of what stage of the preseason it is. I wonder


what the manager thinks about it. Neil Lennon with Chris Maguire


clean. Just seven weeks after you lifted the Scottish cup. The


Champions League campaign starts tonight. Is the squad ready? They


are fantastic professionals and they looked in good condition. It is


impossible for them to be up to speed. Such a short space of time.


Ambrose has not had much of a pre-season at all. Is that a


gamble? No, he looks OK. The rate may have done his body a world of


good. He is in very good condition. Should be pre-season results be a


concern? It is a concern to me but the whole preseason boss disjointed


with four games in ten days. It was very staggered so we did not have a


settled team. You do not like to lose games but this is a real


competitive game tonight so I expect a performance. Nice to be home for a


game? I will let you know afterwards! We know that the bench


is not exactly the strongest, with several players out? Ann I think


they have got enough. The starting line-up for me has enough to win.


Although it is a Champions League game it is hugely important for the


club but also another stage in the development and the preseason and


this will be another step towards it, so as long as nothing


catastrophic happens here tonight it will be a good step along the way.


agree. I think they have so much more quality. The game will start at


a frantic pace, I think. Lift and Phil will want to come out, fly out


-- Cliftonville. Brown, the captain tonight, needs to take a bit more


responsibility tonight in a potentially dangerous claim, in


terms of quality. Slow the ball down and go and get the ball and be brave


in tight areas, pass it, show their quality. Celtic are full of quality


still. Anyone of the Cliftonville layers could not get into the Celtic


team. Celtic have to show that in terms of their attitude. If their


attitude is right, there is no wait Celtic should lose. Cliftonville of


team in Ireland and it is the biggest match for them in their 134


year history. They won the double and then the treble last season.


That they are part-timers. We can now hear from their manager.


excitement is building around the ground. Can you do the seemingly


impossible? Remark we will give it a good go. -- we will do our best.


will see what happens. Describe what it has been like since the draw was


made? Hectic, madness. It has really been crazy. The clamour for tickets.


Getting the ground ready. The preparations. It has been


outstanding. We are just focusing on the football though and we are


actually going to play a match. is the aim for the match? Do you do


your best to try to keep the tie alive for the game at Parkhead?


At the end of the day we are a part-time club but I have just asked


the players to be brave. Be prepared to take it in turns and play


football. The full-time team a couple of months ago work in the


last 16 of the Champions League and that is what we are facing. Good


luck. This was Cliftonville clinching their title last season.


Stephen Kraken was saying a little earlier they like to pass the ball.


Yes, they passed the ball and I was surprised they profit from the


back. They move the ball really well. -- they passed it from the


back. They know that the session will be key. If they keep


surrendering the ball to Celtic, Celtic will punish them. More from


Mark and John at half-time. We are about to get under way at the


Solitude Stadium in Belfast. The second round qualifying game which


hopefully for Celtic leads to the Champions League. Cliftonville


against the Scottish champions and your commentary comes from Stephen


the Northern Irish capital. The last 16 exit at the hands of the Italian


champions, Juventus, came at the end of a journey, and the Celtic fans


are believing once more that their team could make an impact on the


biggest stage of all after a few years in Champions League ex-oil.


They slayed the mighty Barcelona and the fact that they won the league


title again was not enough to propel them into the glamorous group stage.


We are at Solitude, the home of the Northern are champions,


Cliftonville, who have not lost here since September. The atmosphere


around Solitude has been to refit in the build-up to the game. Fans


mingling outside. -- has been horrific. -- terrific. Attendance


here will be around 5500. They have CHEERING


A terrific night in Belfast. The hazy sunshine. Flares going off as


well. The Cliftonville side almost went a treble last season. Devlin in


coal used to be on the books at Manchester United. -- Devlin in


goal. Transfers and injuries leaving Lennon short of several players.


Ambrose has only trained twice. Stokes and Samaras or the men up


front. The Celtic bench shows just how wafer thin the squad is right


now. Youngsters Irvine and waters we have been speaking about this


possibly being the biggest game in Cliftonville's 134 year history. You


do not want the game to get away from them too early. Both sides in


their respective puddles. This could be the biggest game in


Cliftonville's history, the Northern Irish part-time champions. Sweden


took care of Celtic last season. Celtic ended a four year absence.


The referee was in charge of a couple of Europa league matches last


season. An extra hurdle for Celtic to get over this time around. After


some poor pre-season results in their recent tour of Germany, they


are widely expected to overcome Champions League football.


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Cliftonville when an opening free when he came back from the African


cup of Nations. He won that with Nigeria. Celtic are a little bit


clear-cut chance of the match with a header from Kris Commons. That


caused lots of problems. It all came from James Forrest on the left-hand


side. He wants to be one-on-one with the full-back. James Forrest on his


weaker left that played in a lovely ball to the back post. Conor Devlin


is beaten, but the crossbar saves him. Cliftonville off the hook


thought it would, fast and furious. Both sides trying to pass the ball.


Celtic are now trying to get on the artificial pitch out there. Celtic


played on these pictures twice last season. With the attempt, that was


James Forrest. Again, 333 macro. He is going to have fun against Ciaran


Caldwell. Positive play by Celtic. It does look as though James Forrest


has started down the left. I like the fact that Kris Commons is on the


rights and James Forrest is on the left. It opens up the pitch. It is a


at the bottom of your picture. It is a temporary stand that was in


yesterday. If Celtic get the first goal, it will settle them down and


Celtic neatest -- Celtic need to take the sting out of the game.


only other Champions League tie for Cliftonville, it was their biggest


ever aggregate defeat when Hassler back inside beat them 13-1. -- a


Slovakian side beat them 13-1. we'll have warned his players not to


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give Celtic any encouragement, not third Bremen in Germany, but it


didn't work out for him there. He was on the reserve team. He moved


Particularly by Georgios Samaras, you can look a bit ungainly when


running for it, but he does it to good effect. He is the talisman for


Celtic in Europe. He scored five by Anthony Stokes. This is what he


is good at, turning people. You just can't get enough power in the ball.


Liam Boyce with as little trick there, he certainly is a talented


the six yard line. That was slack play by Kelvin Wilson, the cutest


expected to win that ball. He has to be more decisive, go and cleared the


Tommy Breslin was worried about that, but so far they have not been.


Jaimie McGovern was speaking to the press yesterday, he was talking


about which he once from the opposition players, but Tommy


Breslin did not want them thinking the ball than anyone else in the


Georgios Samaras. I think he looks in the mood tonight. But having


questions about his appetite in the past, but tonight he looks in the


draws the free kick. It is just here, there has been a free kick,


there was no need to go in there by was under pressure. This left-hand


side has been very productive for Celtic. That was a terrific cross by


Emilio Izaguirre. Cliftonville have to stop crosses coming into their


box, they have to close people dying or they will be punished. A horrible


pre-season for Celtic, four matches played, and they lost them all. They


were defeated by a couple of German second division sides, as well. Not


We were talking about Liam Boyce, and he has a great partnership. Neil


Lennon will be delighted with the start so far. He played here as a


young man, Neil Lennon. Tommy Breslin was in the team that Neil


Lennon -- the Neil Lennon played for that day. He went over to Manchester


city after that. Tommy Breslin played very similarly to Neil


Lennon, he was good on the ball and a great competitor. Neil Lennon


getting back to his best last season, after that ankle brickie had


the previous season. The game has not been as one-sided as some people


thought it might be. Cliftonville Champions League last season. He was


called into the in dash into the England international squad, but he


is still waiting for that elusive last season, then he went to right


back. He has slotted into that role really well. Sometimes when to go to


full-back, they lose some of the quality, but that has not happens.


He scored the goal that secured the title from the penalty spot against


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kick. That is where I think Commons first touch right there but another


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Belfast sunshine to see what Celtic frustrated Celtic and their players


will get. I just think over the two legs, there is no doubt Celtic will


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had the best chance of the game so corner. A couple of diagonal balls


in behind the Cliftonville fullbacks last season, well over half the


final, that has two B the -- that has to be the inspiration for Stokes


referee is going to his pocket. He is not happy by the -- with the


challenge by McGovern. I think it was more reaction. He was waving his


arms. I do not think the referee took too kindly to that. You see his


reaction. He was waving at the referee. His second season here,


expected the ball to go into the box, a little training ground move,


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that unfortunately it did not. -- was closed recently. They have had


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new seats put in their provided by a their! Celtic in front! And away


goal after 22 minutes. That will be a huge disappointment for


Cliftonville. They have been playing well in the game. It is absolutely


criminal. Devlin came for the cross, did not get anywhere near it.


They have been threatening, they nerves of Celtic, Neil Lennon and


the supporters. The score at scored three times last season -- Mikael


Lustig scored three times last keep their head. They have to be


careful. They cannot let the game go situation for Conor Devlin as that


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trying to do, just hang that on the six yard line. Neil Lennon will be


delighted. He will be a lot more relaxed. He was quite annoyed


yesterday that Celtic had to play this game, to play at this stage of


Boyce. In the last few minutes he through three qualifiers to get into


the group stages of the Champions The third is to come, and then the


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His opponent did well just to snuff it out. Neil Lennon in the past has


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tried to snap the players out of Samaras! Celtic have insurance at


last. That was at top quality finish. Joe Gormley give it up


weekly and Celtic capitalised. Kris Commons does well, it goes back to


Georgios Samaras, you think he is missed this opportunity, but it is a


fantastic finish. That is a well deserved 2-goal lead by Celtic.


Possibly they have clinched the tie already, two away goals against


their part-time opponents. The second leg will be in Glasgow next


Tuesday night. Celtic would love to Cliftonville supporters. We said


that if they were in the moods, Celtic would win the game. They are


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in was like you're playing old summer, in the rugby league.


always thought it helps to have competitive games pre-season.


Competitive football really helps at this stage of the season. That was a


majestic touch, ball coming over his shoulder. He is showing the quality


that Celtic was understrength, and they are, but it is still a strong


disappointed. The two goals they have lost a plain bad goals. They


could be out of the tie already. The next goal could be crucial. There


was no flag there against Ciaran Caldwell, but he fluffed his big


chance. He has been quiet, doing most of his work defensively. It was


a good switch of play. He takes a back inside, but couldn't settle


himself dying to get the shot on comes from Dublin. A controversial


figure Cliftonville. He was fined and put on the transfer list for a


breach of club discipline a few their principles. They have to keep


passing the ball, try to get forward more quickly. They have to give Ryan


Catney and Joe Gormley the chance to card. That yellow card is 458 macro.


That is great feat. It is certainly a booking, he followed through.


Anthony Stokes was expecting the one Cliftonville and they have been


queueing overnight for them in Belfast. It is not everyday you


would see fixture... Here. Bad effort by Anthony Stokes. The


referee did not like that by Georgios Samaras. He is normally the


one getting pushed about. He certainly looks in the mood for the


game. Physically he is up for the challenge. The players from


Cliftonville are certainly leaving a he is in the mood. He is using his


speed, his trickery. So far he has They are ganging up on the Greek


Georgios Samaras with the second, time in the match, Kris Commons hit


the goal frame. Beram Kayal with an effort. This could be a long, long


night for the Northern Irish champions. Kris Commons picks up a


great ball. 16 macro let's turn and get the shot away. I thought it was


drifting into the top corner. Celtic the way. He is a former Scottish


international. Kris Commons stop playing internationals at the end of


last season. Georgios Samaras is playing in the left. The front fork


and interchange positions, but it doesn't affect their play. A lot of


talk in the build-up was about the attitude of Celtic. They have not


had that they have not had any Lennon will have said to them, if


you want to get back to the big stadiums you have to come to places


like this, show the right attitude and go and win the game and get back


into the Champions League. It seems that his players have listen to what


easy Cliftonville get opened up when they lose the ball. They are able to


slide the ball through. As much as it is nice football they are


playing, they have not been productive. The two strikers have


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not had an of service. -- had enough Cliftonville away. I think Tommy


Breslin will have to mix things up at half-time. He has to try and do


something a little bit different. You just think if Celtic get a third


goal, the whole tie is completely reasonably well, in coping with


Celtic would shine through. At the start of the game it was always


going to be intense Cliftonville going to try to force themselves on


Celtic. Once it slowed down and the flair players for Celtic came on the


ball, it was always going to be a from Celtic sometimes. Maybe it is


because of this pre-season, but they are just leaving little chance at


times. Neil Lennon will be sent to them, don't give away back into the


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game. -- don't give them away back Ukrainian referee. Celtic very


comfortable now. Goals from Lustig and Samaras. They are two up.


Georgios Samaras may not look it but he must be very happy for the way


his team have performed in that first half.


All going according to plan so far for Celtic. 2-0 up. How impressed


are you with the way Celtic have gone about this? Very impressed.


Straight from kick-off they have looked up for it. As if Neal has


gone in there and said, forget about are four pre-season defeats, it is


all about tonight. This is where it starts tonight. The back four have


looked solid. Ambrose should be coming onto the ball once or twice.


The midfield, Brown and Kayal, have controlled it. They have had little


spells, Cliftonville, but when you look at it... Samaras scored an


unbelievable goal. I spoke about the attitude, and they matched them very


early on, physically and then the quality that Celtic have. Commons's


delivery, which we are going to see soon, and Samaras's goal is


fantastic. There has been a belief about Celtic, as you would expect


with a team that reached the last 16 last season. I think there was a


quiet confidence in Neil Lennon when he was interviewed for the match. He


knows his players. They started brilliantly. Samaras was a catalyst.


His distribution to Forrest on the left-hand side was excellent. He has


been their star player in the first half. They wanted that opening


goal. It came along at 25 minutes and it was Mikael Lustig who got the


goal from the corner kick following this from Forrest. Forrest has been


great. It is listed with the touch which wins the corner. This is what


Celtic have that Cliftonville do not have, real quality. Must dig loses


his man. -- lusting loses his man. His man doesn't even bother marking


him. -- Lustig. That is a fantastic ball. Commons with his less foot, we


see later on he is equally good with his right foot. Celtic assessment


front three have all been great. Difficult to single one out but


Forrest a threat down both sides to and we expected him to go back on it


but he went on his left foot. He hits the crossbar. Then he goes over


onto the right foot and does it on the other side. It is putting people


into a good area than worrying about how the ball looks. He just puts it


in the area and invites strikers to go and get on the end of it. I


thought that was fantastic from Samaras. This one went over the bar.


He might have done a bit better in hitting the target. But first he


went down the side on his right foot, then he went on his left.


sums up how positive Celtic have been from the start but Forrest is a


very positive anyway. He gets the ball and he has one thing on his


mind, can I beat the full-back Matt can I pick my striker out? For me, a


good winter should be satisfied if he makes his striker a goal. -- wind


-- winger. John has raved about Kris Commons already. There was a short


curling shot which look like -- looked like it was net-bound as


well. He almost got through and the ball just checked behind him a


little bit. But at other times he will get on the end of crosses. That


is really so unlucky. I thought that was a goal. As soon as it left his


foot. He was very unfortunate. But we know he will go for it. I am not


sure what his stronger side is. He is so strong on his left. It is


arguable which side he is strongest on. There was no stopping the shot


from Georgios Samaras 131 minutes and his first half performance has


been top. Yes. Cliftonville will not come up against players in their


league that will do that. He turned onto his left foot and finished it.


He carved out the goal after it ended up going behind him. He was


great. He didn't look up. He just drilled it into the net. The


goalkeeper had no chance whatsoever. You cannot be too critical of


Cliftonville in that circumstance, because that is a good player.


was a European talismanic for Celtic last season. He could be a game.


Yes, he gives it his midfield and defence a breather because he can


run at people. He is deceiving the quick with that gangly stride he


has. When you get the centre forward facing his own goal away from your


goal, you think you have done the job but the swivel, and to get the


power from that left foot to get it into the net is fantastic. Is it


fair to say the only defensive problems Celtic have had have been


of their own making? Yes. It is still pre-season. One of the things


Neil Lennon is doing is working towards a defensive chain. To make


them defend in a much more solid shape. That is something that will


come. Tonight they have been a little bit staggered at times,


sometimes indecisive, sometimes having to scrabble. That looked for


all the world like a free kick. The referee did not give it. A little


scrappy at times but that is what pre-season back Falls lookalike for


a time. -- Falls. What is Neil Lennon saying at this moment about


what he wants from the second half? Keep the ball. There is nothing


worse than chasing a ball. From a Cliftonville point of view. If they


can get a couple more goals... He might make one or two changes, just


save a little bit of legs because they are still in pre-season. I


think he will be absolutely delighted with the first half. They


were professional in attitude and that is what this book about -- he


spoke about before the game. Sometimes you can go onto the pitch


waiting for other players to do it against lesser opposition but


tonight the attitude has been spot on. We will come back to this game


in a minute but let's talk about Gary Hooper, who seems to be going,


gone as far as the Celtic fans are concerned. His contract is up in a


year. Would you have expected Celtic, even knowing there is only


12 months on his deal, to have got more money than they have for him?


Could he score good goals in the English Premier League, for


instance? I think they can. Crystal Palace, Cardiff, Hull, those are


teams who have been interested. They are interested in him at the money


that Celtic are demanding. There are other players playing in the Premier


League... I watch a lot of Premier League games. We watch Premier


League players and we see players that are not as good as Gary Hooper.


Would you be surprised if Celtic did not get a much bigger offer in the


next few days, but he would go for less than 5 million? No, because he


has 12 months left on his contract. He is letting his contract run down


because he wants to leave the club. I think he wants a taste of the


Premier League, which is arguably one of the strongest leagues in the


world. I would not be surprised if one of the middle range clubs of the


Premier League, West Bromwich Albion, Swansea, Everton, I would


not be surprised if one of those clubs came in. That would hike the


price up, wouldn't it? I think the reason it is 5 million is he only


has a year on his contract. Is that if there is competition it will


price the clubs up? I am surprised that one of the... Maybe not the top


three all four because they may feel he has a bit more to prove in the


Premier League because he has not played at that level. Late in the


SPL, scored acts of goals, scored Champions League goals... -- load of


goals. Having you here, Mark, we have a chance to talk Scotland


briefly and the difference that that goal in Croatia... We were trying to


work out how long ago it was, five and a half weeks? What difference


does this make to the national mood? It is incredible, really and


going into the game we lost some players and looking at the squad,


people had an opportunity for those reasons and everyone on the night


contributed. It really was a fabulous performance. But wait a


minute. We are going to have to work on the celebration! Yes, I was


criticised for my celebration when we scored before because apparently


I did nothing. We have things going on, organisational things. I have


work to do. Yes, of course you want to celebrate but you also don't want


to get carried away. But it was a fantastic performance and out of


that we can take things into the next stage, the preparation for the


England game. Not just the result. The result was brilliant but the


performance, for me, was the important thing. If we had drawn 1-1


in the end we would have been disappointed but we still would have


taken something away from the performance. There is that match


coming up, and the group games coming up for Scotland. I do not


know why I am speaking to you about this because you have done it...


Home game against Belgium to come. Away to Macedonia. And then Croatia


at home. All following that Finland international. Do you see things now


on the up? There will be a better spirit because they have some


terrific players. I do not think they have got the quality they have


had in recent years, years gone by. I do not want to name great


players... But Mark will tell you the spirit on the camp is very


important. For Scotland to go out to Croatia and when 1-0 will have given


them great hope. That was a wonderful result. I think one of the


most important things is that Gordon is new to the job and when you go in


as a manager in any club game, never mind international, you want to give


the players a message to believe in. Horton was clear about how he wanted


to approach the Croatia game and the players did what he asked them to do


will stop -- Gordon. Then they will come back next time listening to


what he has two say, believing he has something positive to say to


help them win football matches. That will help the confidence grow. You


get that enthusiasm, that the governors, and the belief in the


manager. That has made a spill a whole lot better. For Celtic it is


so far all going according to plan after Mikael Lustig's 25 minute


header, followed six minutes later by the left foot last from Georgios


Samaras, to get Celtic two goals in front against Cliftonville in


Belfast. Back there now, to Stephen Celtic's first-ever match against


Northern Irish opponents. They have played teams from the Republic. The


route to Lisbon, where the final will be played, were Celtic last


last season in the Champions what Neil Lennon will be sent to his


players, but what will Tommy Breslin have to say? The next goal will be


crucial. If it goes the way of Celtic, it will be a long night


tonight and at Parkhead next week. He will just be encouraging his


time the Celtic players are running. A towards Cliftonville,


they tend to have the better of them. It looks like Georgios Samaras


has started off the same way he was playing in the first half. And will


be demanding that he -- that his clever interplay with Ciaran


Thistle, once upon a time. Cliftonville have done OK, but it is


just that final pass, that final cross that has let them down. This


is another opportunity and the big boys are going up. Can George


were talking up their chances before the game, thinking they had an


opportunity. I would imagine at half-time a few of them would have


been looking at each other after realising how did these players are.


That was Celtic's own fault. That was just a little bit of indecision


between Mikael Lustig and Fraser Forster. Stephen Garrett will


certainly see that as a missed opportunity to get his side back in


the game. Georgios Samaras was scathing about is surfaces


yesterday. -- about artificial want to play on grass. It can be a


bit of an inconvenience to have to Cliftonville, moving it from left to


right. They need to maintain the ball better in the final third.


Don't give it to them cheaply, don't little bit more careful when they


second half started the way the first acted, with Cliftonville


trying to take the game to Celtic. You would expect in ten minutes,


when it settles down again, Celtic will go back to moving the ball,


making Cliftonville go from side to Beram Kayal. It has been a very


competitive midfield battle. The concern Neil Lennon in the second


half. Scott Brown has given it away, Beram Kayal has given that


away a bit sloppily. Neil Lennon will want them to up their speed.


Cliftonville and start their league season until the 10th of August, to


again this season. Linfield have added a lot of good players, so it


should be closer, and on the evidence we see tonight Cliftonville


Cliftonville. George McMullan start that move on the far side. It has


resulted in the set piece opportunity. One touch football,


passing and moving. That is what you try to preach all the time, pass and


was riding around there, that the sewer. Just got on the back of the


knee. I think the knee of Liam Boyce just goes into Mikael Lustig. I


think you will be OK. -- he will be Anthony Stokes is drifting out to


the left-hand side. Good play by Liam Boyce! Drops it in for Joe


Gormley! It looks like -- at the click it was going to fall to Joe


Gormley! That is better play, better ball in the final third. Joe Gormley


just does not get the amount of time that he expects in Irish league


football. We know that Liam Boyce has that quality, that little bit of


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straight at the goalkeeper. That was good patient play. Moving its side


to side. Any crosses coming into the box, too often the Celtic players


the game. They are wrestling the game back from Cliftonville. They


are just slowing the temple, taking only lost once at home in all


free season. Anthony Stokes with another opportunity. We had


mentioned about Gary Hooper leaving. This is a huge opportunity for him


at Celtic. Neil Lennon will be so much happier now that Celtic have


times for Celtic last season. He did score the winner in the cup


Cliftonville have it in them to go and get the goal? Can they muster up


the quality, the energy? Their fitness will be a factor night. They


have been chasing the ball for long temporary stand that we have here at


at a Bruce Springsteen concert yet Smyth came up from the back for


that. That is the best chance they have had, Mark Smyth coming at the


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back post. A good block and the 61 minutes we have had so far.


All the hard work in pre-season starts to pay off. Izaguirre was


caught by Barry Johnston here. Smyth does well. But good defending.


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A great touch. He should really have Cliftonville have won three European


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done everything score today. -- to make sure it was a timely tackle.


At times he has shown little flashes of quality. 22-year-old Liam Boyce.


A couple of Scottish clubs have contacted me with regards his


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work a little harder on certain Wilson's challenge on Gormley. Taken


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bar. The scoreline could have been a lot more for Celtic. James Forrest


drew to men. Stokes just goes coming off for Cliftonville,


replaced by Diarmuid O'Carroll. A man from the south of the border.


Just four goals last season. He started at Celtic, left back in


2008. There is another change coming in a moment for Cliftonville, as


Initially he won the first header, flicked it on to voice... Can he get


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a shot on target? -- and Carol was dream tie for Cliftonville, but on


the pitch they always knew it was a big ask, and that has been the case


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had a problem with an impact to the back of his knee earlier on. The


last thing Neil Lennon needs is another injury problem. Albeit at a


very good physician in this tie. Cliftonville are having their second


change. Watch the challenge here between Garrett and Lustig.


thought he took a straight elbow or straight arm. There was a bit of


trickery. Here is that bit from Boyce. That final little pass, that


little bit of quality, that is what can get the goal. That is Donna


Lee, a 21-year-old call centre we here. -- he is going to come off,


OK. Sometimes football players, just like a little girl, just like to be


you can't continually give the ball away, because if they do them get


back for long time. Georgios Samaras is going to come off. Anthony Stokes


still has his chance to get his by Celtic. They have just been able


to carve Cliftonville open with their patients, quality and the


of Anthony Stokes there! He is lightly around the box, isn't he? He


is always trying to create a bit of space for himself. Conor Devlin


shuffling across his goal. Georgios Samaras, he got the second


for Celtic in the first half, a wonderful goal, Tony Watt, who got


the second goal for Celtic against Barcelona last November, he comes


on. One Scottish newspaper yesterday was suggesting he was going to do


out on loan. Neil Lennon was keen to point out yesterday that that has


not been said by him. Tony Watt will not be going on loan as things


stand, anyway. He needs as many of his strikers that he can get at the


moment, with Gary Hooper expected to leave by the end of the week. Queens


through this game. His decision-making has been good. His


reading of the game, his interceptions, he has that simple. I


think he is a centre half, I do night. The partnership with him and


Kelvin Wilson, that can certainly improve Celtic. Efe Ambrose arrived


that Celtic, he did play some matters in midfield. There was some


talk that he might go there. certain games, he may. If they do


progress in Europe, he could play as a midfield player because it gives


them a sense of stability. I to night, he has said, he would like to


play centre half. Final change for Cliftonville. Stephen Garrett coming


off, and Chris Curran coming on. with Conor Devlin in a previous


life. On the substitution with Georgios Samaras, I think that is a


well-deserved break. It was terrific to night. He was the catalyst for


their first-half performance. I think it will be a big season for


Tony Watt. Tony Watt got six goals last season, but he only scored once


after that game with Barcelona in November. They will never be able to


take that moment away from him, that fine strike, beating Victor Valdes.


He will want to achieve a lot more in his career. He was only 19.


has to go under in his career now. He has had his moment of glory, but


there is more there for him if he wanted. Gary Hooper going, there


will be more opportunities for him He will be disappointed. It opened


up for him again. He just gets away Commons. Kris Commons will be


unhappy he didn't score tonight can hit the woodwork twice. The


Australian Tomas Rogic scored a couple of times for Celtic. Talks


very highly of him. , Neil Lennon delighted with the third goal. If he


could get that in the next nine minutes, he will be delighted with


their work your Belfast. Dusk is beginning to fall in Northern


Ireland, has Cliftonville go forward looking for a third hold back into


that. He didn't get his foot round it. Credit to Cliftonville, they


have kept going, happens to -- European action this week. Hibernian


clipping the crossbar, Celtic have not really managed to test Conor


Devlin in the second half. They tried to be too clever, but when it


has needed to be cleared he has just kicked it. His decision-making has


Forrest! Keep it is the icing on the cake. You would think, if that


wasn't already over, it surely is now. 3-0 to Celtic. His performance


as deserved that. Jaimie McGovern going backwards towards his goal. I


think Conor Devlin will be disappointed getting beaten at his


near post. James Forrest has been terrific, direct and speedy. And


that is a great finish. He will want to put last season behind him,


despite the fact he has medals to show for it, he did not play a big


part of it as he would've liked to. Tommy Breslin has the think again,


contemplate the second leg. Sometimes you come up against


players and they are better than you, it is simple. Maybe at times


they did give Celtic too much space and didn't keep the ball well


enough, but Celtic of Shaun the difference in quality to night. It


was a strong, professional performance. They might want another


one. Into the last five minutes here thoughts of Neil Lennon. He will be


delighted with his nights work. was the last acts by James Forrest,


he has been replaced by Dylan McGee, a Scottish hundred 21


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international, who started his game time, so this will put him in a


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through to Conor Devlin. He just can't get enough power on the shot.


A little glimpse of the quality of minutes. I think it is a job well


done. If you give this to Neil Lennon, a good win and no fitness


concerns, I think you would have been delighted. Here comes the book


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again. Yellow card given to Liam too much to do. The home supporters


with love a goal. -- would love a minutes of stoppage time. I think


there will be a few tired bodies and that Cliftonville dressing room.


They have put so much into it. The lakes will be feeling at tomorrow


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be a little bit harsh on it is job done for Neil Lennon and


for Celtic. He exchanges handshakes with Tony Breslin. I am sure he will


be busily disappointed with the results. -- bitterly disappointed.


But he will be routed as well. A massive night for Cliftonville pier


at Solitude. But it is Neil Lennon who is smiling at the end of this


one. Goals for Mikhail Lustig with a header followed by a fantastic


finish by Georgios Samaras, with a third at the end from James Forrest.


Many Celtic players played well tonight. Neil Lennon will feel a lot


better about things after what was April pre-season run in Germany. --


a poor run. They will be back at Celtic Park for the return next


Tuesday, when the Northern Irish champions crossed the Irish Sea for


could have gone much better for Celtic. Three goals, three off the


frame as well. A comprehensive defeat, you would had to say. -- you


would have to say, kicked off by Lustig's header after 25 minutes,


George Samaras with number two and then James Forrest's goal, six


minutes from time. The second leg is at Celtic park next Tuesday night.


Neil Lennon and Celtic can begin to look forward to the next qualifying


round, which hopefully takes his team up a little closer to the


prestige of the Champions League group stages. Final score 3-0 in


Belfast. John and Martin. That was, offensive in the end? It was pretty


comfortable in the end. Because of Celtic ass professionalism and


attitude, coming out of the blocks, the way they started the game. --


Celtic's professionalism. Especially commons and Sampras, two of the


senior players, and Brown. I think Cliftonville players will be proud


of themselves, of the way they kept going. They had one or 2/2 chances


but in the end it could have been five or six and that may have been a


bit unfair on Cliftonville. Celtic's chances hit the bar a few


times. Some doubted Celtic and their ability to get through it smoothly


tonight. One of the great things that result does for Neil is just


defies his pre-season. You can say they have had a difficult three


season. But I can say they have had a great pre-season because they have


prepared for this game. Although they have lost games, they have been


working hard in between games. On tonight's performance, Neil has got


it absolutely spot on. It frustrates managers that people want to talk


about pre-season games and results. I think that tonight proves it is


almost irrelevant. It is a regime you are going through to get to the


point of playing important games. Especially, when you are managing


Celtic, every defeat is magnified tenfold. Everything about the


performance tonight was fantastic. Be weight Celtic paste the whole


game as well. -- the way Celtic paste the whole game. There was a


patient's once the game got under way but Celtic had to start with the


right tempo and at half-time we said Samaras was the one who started


that. He was running out, getting the ball to Forrest, who was then


getting it back. Getting the game up the park for Celtic. So although


they were patient, after that early period, they started with the right


tempo and the right way of taking the initiative. There was quality


about the performance, quality about all three goals as well, the Lustig


header, great timing from him as well, and great corner delivery from


Commons. This is what Commons can do. On both sides as well, but he


faces his left side, I believe. That That is saying to any player, time


your run, go and get your run. Tying it. Georgios Samaras did so many


great things last season for Celtic in Europe. He was running out of the


blocks. And this was some goal. Again, we have talked about the fact


that when it comes back to him, the ball came across but he got a little


touch back. A fantastic finish absolutely hammered into the back of


the net. You cannot criticise the goalkeeper. Two touches with his


right. He had to manipulate the ball back onto his other side but


absolutely fabulous. Sometimes he is a figure of frustration to the


Celtic fans, Georgios Samaras, but when he produces performances like


that he is top dog. I remember watching a couple of goals against


Rangers two or three seasons ago. The crowd were divided at one stage.


Some more quite happy to see him leave the club. Others could see the


potential. But he started to show himself. He stays on his feet a lot


more now. He used to go over a lot. He shows more physical presence.


When he's on his game he is a seasoned international. You were


pleased with the Forrest goal. Maybe it is a part of his goal that he


still has to add in there. Yes, there was one in the first half


where he put it over the bar. Here he spins the defender and he hits


the target. That is the important thing. In the first half he has


driven one over the bar. On that occasion, the keeper can stick at a


food and save it but if he hits the target he has a chance of scoring


and he did. And of the season at Parkhead he scored a similar goal.


-- end of the season. He is important for Celtic. I know that


Auden Strachan has a huge amount of hope pinned on Forrest. -- Gordon.


It would be great to think for James Forrest, for Celtic and Scotland,


that he can have an injury free time, because his time has so far


been disrupted constantly. Yes, you do not find players who are very,


very quick. They struggle with their hamstrings. I did not have that


problem! It is great to see young players so positive. Coming into the


side. Also playing for his country. It is great to see a youngster


coming through the ranks and playing with so much confidence, being the


star attraction, like he is and when he plays like that he's unstoppable.


Those three goals do not tell the whole story tonight. It could so


easily have been half a dozen, with several more coming off a post or a


bar. Yes, but you do have to put the ball in the back of a net and as


close as it was, you know, Commons coming inside and this one of the


crossbar. A terrific little ball. He just lose it in a good area towards


the back post and it is a clever header. -- he just leaves it.


thought this one was in there. is a fantastic piece of individual


skill. That is so difficult to do, to come in there on your wrong side,


your right foot, and just bend it into the top corner there. That is


inches away. Inches away from being my contender for goal of the season,


already. Anthony Stokes frustrated here as well. I think in the absence


of Hooper, he has had to step up to the plate as a player. He has played


well and I think he can get goals. We have seen him get goals. He has


been unlucky there. You have to put it in the back of the net. I thought


the goalkeeper made a little touch combat. But another good game.


Celtic will look at replacing Gary Hooper. But Anthony Stokes is


waiting in the wings. He missed a lot of last season. He will be


looking to make up for lost time. Yes, and you look at what Neil has,


young Tony Watts, who has been talked about going out on loan, not


sure whether they have enough strength and cover to send any of


the strikers out on loan at the moment. Samaras can play down the


middle. Commons can play there as well. James Forrest and come in. I


think they are short of striker. When you let a striker go like


Cooper, and he guarantees you what he has got, 82 games in 137


appearances for Celtic, that is a frightening statistic. -- like


Hooper. He may well get more games this season, but I think Neil's


priority will be a striker and a goal-scorer. They do not come


cheaply. But I am sure he will have his eye on one or two. Doyle has


been mentioned, the lad at Burnley has been mentioned. But I think that


is what his priority will be. difficult to fault the front four.


Yes, the movement and Comments did the as Samaras, manipulating the


ball with both feet. Good layers do that. A lot of players at


Cliftonville play on one foot and turn on their right foot and only go


on their right foot. But that in conjunction with the movement of


Forrest coming on side, it was just too much for Cliftonville. It was


important for Celtic that they kept that? Not really. I think we were


architects of own downfall. I felt we were well in the game when they


scored. The next goals were preventable. Celtic is a class act


and the move the ball about. I was proud of our players. We looked


comfortable at times and created have chances. There was the danger


your players might have been overawed. Yes, but they weren't. At


this level of football if you give -- if you give the way -- if you


give the ball away cheaply you will get punished. What is the plan for


Parkhead called # -- for Parkhead? I'm going to as Neil Lennon of I can


play 17 players! We will work hard play 17 players! We will work hard


play 17 players! We will work hard back, it would have lifted them.


Celtic will be pleased that they didn't get a goal. He tried to time,


but he just couldn't get on it. They did not have any clear-cut chances.


Liam Boyce does really well there, place it into Joe Gormley, but he


just didn't get the shopping early. did Fraser Forster have a big state


to make, the answer would have to be no. The dissenters were doing great


blocking in front of him, as well. -- the defenders. Although Celtic


were a little bit out of shape defensively, particularly from bowls


further away, they defended their goal well enough and never really


looked like Cliftonville was going massive. The players at the lower


levels have to aspire to reach up to the higher levels. Every time you go


onto the page you are representing your club, cure at a great place and


you have to go and perform enjoy your quality. There is no respite


when you're playing for mass of clubs. There is no hiding place.


Tonight I felt Celtic approached the game in the right manner. Yes,


Cliftonville had little periods without threatening the goal for


Celtic, but Neil Lennon will be delighted with a clean sheet and


three goals, they are through by, job done. His bigger worry tonight


was probably complacency, and how that could become a problem. He must


be absolutely delighted with the attitude based should from the


start. That is right. From the very beginning I had a feeling that there


was a quiet confidence and determination, that he was enjoying


the occasion. He said he didn't want to show that he was nervous because


that would seep through to the players. That showed on the pitch.


There was no setting back, from the first ball Celtic took the


initiative. That is exactly what the manager had instructed them to do.


Here is the man himself, Neil Lennon.


Your thoughts? I am delighted. We played well and scored three goals


and created a lot of chances. It was a sticky game for us and we doubled


that well. All the more pleasing because it was a potential banana


skin. Yes, we have had lots of talk about our preseason and the results,


but we just wanted to get ready for these games. We have a friendly on


Saturday that the bulk of this team will not be involved in an another


game against Cliftonville next week. I suppose it is all about building


momentum. Do you think they are getting sharper? Some are, some are


a bit rusty. It is completely understandable. Good performances


the night from Emilio Izaguirre, Mikael Lustig. I am delighted with


the performances and the attitude. There was so much talk about this


fixture and what a mental both sides, real sense of occasion out


there. It meant a lot to me personal -- personally. When I was young, the


opportunity to see Celtic live is very rare. I couldn't have asked for


any more from both sets of supporters. Even the weather has


been good! I get the feeling there is a sense of pride from your part.


If results haven't had gone the way I wanted, I would have been getting


stick from back home. Hopefully the next generation of Celtic supporters


here will have gone away happy. suppose you will continue to tweak


with the squad. Any more word on the future of Gary Hooper? I have


nothing more to add on that. The hubs are ongoing. Steven Mouyokolo


be able to join at the weekend. Virgil van Dijk will be open the


joining. Thank you. So, an emotional night for Neil


Lennon. People can say what they like about preseason friendlies and


the results on tour, but it comes down in the end to the real thing,


and tonight was the real thing. the pre-season tour, you look at the


amount of time you have before your first competitive game. You have to


think if we work as hard as we want to work in certain areas, will it


affect the performance in a preseason game? Sometimes it does.


Sometimes you have disabled go into this game tired, but we will get


something out of it having done the work. That is what the preseason is


all about. Get through it and major players aren't injured. When you get


to the competitive games, they should be fresh and ready. It is


about steps up progression, and this strikes me as a significant step for


Celtic. It is about having the squad to cope, if you like. He has just


list of about five players that will come from injury, little knocks. He


had a strong enough 11 that did fantastically for him. The play


Brentford on Saturday, then Cliftonville next Tuesday, then


another friendly on the Saturday, then they go into the next round of


the Champions League qualifiers. Before you know what they're into


the first game of the real season starts and they County at home. It


is about managing his squad, adding one or two, and bringing the injured


players back and just seeing whether the likes of Tony Watt who came onto


night, are they ready? Can they take the pressure of the senior boys?


There is so much juggling going on, trying to win games was planning for


the season. With the injuries he has got, some decisions have been taken


out of his hands. The day he has got everyone said, that is the day he


makes lots of decisions! That is what he wants. He wants them all fit


and strong and ready and willing to play, so he can pick what he thinks


is the strongest team. In the meantime he has to juggle it a


little bit. He said there, going to Brentford at the weekend, he said


that none of the ones playing tonight will be involved. It will be


all change at Brentford on Saturday for Celtic. This is a team of


ambitions of going far in the Champions League. Celtic are


expected to win the treble. That is a huge pressure on Neil Lennon. It


is a long, long season. We has to be scientific about how users his


squad. He has just lost arguably his best player, one Yam. There is talk


about Gary Hooper leaving. It looks like he will leave. As a manager, it


must be soul destroying to lose your two best players. The fans put


pressure on the manager, put the man's on him. Losing your two best


players, that must be a body blow for him. A quick word about the


other teams from Scotland in action tomorrow? St Johnstone will play


Rosenberg. Ebony cane against Malmo in Sweden. They declared tough


games. Had Celtic and playing either of those teams, you would be looking


at it thinking that is a hard game for Celtic, never mind St Johnstone


or Hibernian. Expectations are still that they will go through. Of course


they have a chance, but will be very difficult. It is a balancing act for


them the same way that it is for Celtic at the moment. These are big


games. The possibilities are glamorous, but they have their


domestic season to think about. expectancy level is not the same as


for Celtic. Going to Sweden or Norway, there isn't that expectancy


level. Steve Lomas did incredibly well to get them into Europe and it


is a shame he is not there. We wish Pat Fenlon the best of luck for


Hibernian tomorrow night. Her job really well done tonight by New


London's team. A really professional job. It was an occasion, a great


occasion for Cliftonville and for Neil Lennon to go back with his


team. Cliftonville can be proud of their performance, they were well


beaten but did not lose the discipline. They stuck with the


three rides and were just beaten by a better team. That is the football


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season off and running on the BBC! the 3rd of August. All the results


on all the reports. Sunday nights means our highlights programme,


coverage of all six games played across the Scottish Premier League


Rob Maclean introduces live coverage from Solitude as Celtic start their UEFA Champions League campaign against Cliftonville.

Despite reaching the round of 16 last season and enjoying notable victories over Spartak Moscow and Barcelona on the way, Celtic enter this year's competition at the second qualifying round and face another five matches should they hope to progress to the lucrative group stages. Neil Lennon will be determined to avoid any slip-ups as he leads Celtic to a competitive tie in Northern Ireland for the first time in front of a capacity crowd of just under 3,000. Cliftonville lost out in the first qualifying round of last season's Europa League against Swedish side Kalmar, losing the tie 4-1 on aggregate having won the home leg 1-0.

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