It wasn’t pretty, but, in the end, Celtic got the result they wanted against Lazio on Thursday night thanks to a Christopher Julien header in the 89th minute.
The result means the Scottish side now have a four point lead over the Italians in Group E and cemented their spot at the top, even if CFR Cluj picked up all three points against Rennes.
Over in Italy, there’s no real sense in injustice, and there’s a general acceptance that Celtic were the better side, helped hugely by a stellar performance from Ryan Christie, with both Gazzetta dello Sport and Corriere dello Sport naming him their man of the match.
The former state the 24-year-old was ‘always sparkling’, while the latter describe his performances as bringing ‘quality and quantity’ to Neil Lennon’s plan, and was ‘clearly the best’ player they have.
Both gave him a 7.5/10, but when it came to Celtic’s worst performer, they disagreed.
Gazzetta picked out Kristoffer Ajer with a 5/10, as he failed to apply any pressure to Joaquin Correa for Lazio’s goal, while Corriere believed Boli Bolingoli was most at fault (5.5/10) for being out of position on the Italians’ counter-attack.
The two newspapers also had a lot of praise for Neil Lennon, commending the heart and the play Celtic produced throughout the game.
Over on Lazio’s side, Lazzari and Felipe Caicedo were picked out as the best performers, but it generally feels like they were the best out of a mediocre bunch, such is the amount of 5s and 5.5s given to Simone Inzaghi’s men across the two newspapers.
We’ll see how Celtic fare in the return leg, which is now set up to be an absolutely vital game for both teams.