Less than 24 hours after travelling to Belfast to play Linfield in the Champions League, Celtic hosted French outfit Olympique Lyon in a pre-arranged friendly at Celtic Park yesterday.
Brendan Rodgers too the opportunity to start new Bhoys, 21 year-old Frenchman Olivier Ntcham, 19 year-old on loan signing Kundai Benyu, and a first Paradise place to Jonny Hayes. January signing Kouassi Eboue was also in the starting line-up.
It was also the first time the newly laid park got a run out, and a bit of a test with incessant rain almost from the kick-off.
Celtic had the best of the first half chances, with Callum McGregor having a goal ruled offside by referee Brother Madden. Moussa and Kundai both came close before the interval, only to be thwarted by the Lyon goalkeeper.
The second half say Lyon bring on six players, while Brendan’s only change at the beginning of the second period, was Doris De Vries departing for young Conor Harland in goal.
As more changes came and went, the young Lyon side began to take control and eventually ran our deserved 4-0 winners, with Celtic finishing the game with nine players that came through the academy.
The game was a good exercise to get players some needed game time. All the new Bhoys played well, Benyu looked lively and up for the game, Ntcham can certainly see a pass, that was apparent early on and wee Jonny Hayes put in a great shift, even though he played on Friday night and was subject to some rough treatment from the Lyon full backs.
Despite the score, I’m sure Brendan will be happy, it’s all about getting the fitness up at this stage of the season.