Abada opener cancelled out by Evander as ten-man Hoops’ Champions League hopes hang in balance


NOT Abada start.

Just a hugely frustrating one for Ange Postecoglou in his first competitive game as Celtic boss.

Liel Abada celebrates his opener for Celtic in their Champions League qualifier

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Liel Abada celebrates his opener for Celtic in their Champions League qualifier
Liel Abada had to be withdrawn after the sending off

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Liel Abada had to be withdrawn after the sending off

Liel Abada’s debut goal got this new era off to a bright beginning.

But a combination of idiocy and ineptitude cost Celtic in this Champions League first-leg qualifier.

Nir Bitton’s first-half red card was a moment of madness while Vasilis Barkas did what Vasilis Barkas does when he flapped horrendously at the first shot on target he was asked to deal with.

Midtjylland’s scorer was called Evander but it should not prove to be a knock-out blow.

But it just didn’t need to be this way.

Not on a night when the Danish outfit were also reduced to ten men when former St Mirren loanee Andres Dreyer was sent off for TWO bookings for diving.

The upshot is that Celtic still have work to do in next week’s return clash in Denmark.

Postecoglou couldn’t have asked for a better reception from the Celtic support.

It was a warm welcome he got when he came out of the tunnel an hour before kick-off.

There were only a few thousand fans inside the stadium at that point but they made themselves heard with loud cheers for their new manager.

Evander's free-kick went straight through Celtic keeper Vasilis Barkas

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Evander’s free-kick went straight through Celtic keeper Vasilis Barkas

Postecoglou responded by applauding back.

After doing some pre-match media interviews at the side of the pitch the fans erupted again with the big Greek-Aussie clearly thrilled by it all.

After punching the air a couple of times he then slapped the Celtic crest on his chest. 

It’s clear that these supporters are more than prepared to go into this season with an open mind on the man brought in as Neil Lennon’s replacement.

It’s not Postecoglou’s fault this Celtic squad is ill-prepared for what’s ahead. That’s not on him and the supporters know it.

That culpability falls on the shoulders of the Celtic board.

The fact Postecoglou highlighted their ‘hesitation’ in making signings has maybe only made him more popular.

The bottom line is that 55 year-old wouldn’t have been the first choice appointment of many here last night – despite what some would have you believe – but he’s here now and getting all the backing he could possibly wish for.

The same went for the team itself as the 9000 attendance did their best impression of a full house.

You almost wouldn’t have known Celtic won nothing last season going by the positivity inside the ground ahead of kick-off.

Postecoglou’s starting line-up also wasn’t as worrying as it might have been.

The 1-0 weekend defeat to Preston North End came with a handful of youngsters all involved but there was a welcomed return of some experience for this one. Well, so it seemed.

Bitton was in at centre-back, Ismaila Soro anchored midfield with Odsonne Edouard up front and Ryan Christie on the left.

New £3.4million signing Abada was also straight into the team on the right having impressed enough in his weekend appearance as a substitute.

With 44 minutes played the little Israeli was having the time of his life having made a dream start to his Celtic career.

He was the man who fired Celtic ahead in 39 minutes with a clinical finish inside the box.

COMPETITION: SPOT THE BALL TO WIN A CAR AND CASH

hristie – who had hit the post moments earlier – blasted another shot on target which was beaten away by the  Midtjylland keeper.

Before any off his team-mates could react Abada snuck in to hit the net.

It was just the lead Celtic wanted.

The Danish side had shown next-to-nothing as an attacking threat with Postecoglou’s side looking good to have a comfortable night.

But things turned in the blink of an eye.

There was no way they were going to buy his dive.

The linesman awarded Celtic a goal kick and the referee turned away from the front man, who had a spell at St Mirren earlier in his career.

In a rare Midtjylland attack Dreyer burst into the box and threw himself to the ground in a blatant attempt to con a penalty out of the officials.

There was no need for any Celtic play to get involved.

But young defender Stephen Welsh moved in first to point this finger at Dreyer and criticise him for being a con man.

Then Bitton did the same.

After initially shoving the Midtjylland man, he then wagged his finger in his face with Dreyer reacting like he’d been hurt.

There was very little in it, but Bitton should still have known better than to get involved.

He had picked up a booking in 38 minutes, for a cynical foul on the half-way line to prevent an attack, and he shouldn’t have attracted any more attention to himself.

The decision to sent him off incensed him.

He trudged up the tunnel like he’d been wronged. But in the cold light of day he’ll realise he was stupid.

Dreyer, though, was even more brainless.

He was booked for his part in the incident and with a one-man advantage the Danes were making inroads from middle to front.

No sooner had they started to impose themselves on the game, though, and Dreyer was sent off. For diving. Again.

Guilty of another blatant attempt to fool Swiss referee Sandro Scharer with another piece of cheating, the 23-year-old could have no complaints when he was shown a second yellow card.

It was back to an even game and both sides went for it.

But after Edouard missed a great chance to make it 2-0 the Danes levelled from an outrageous free-kick.

Evander took aim from wide on the right with Barkas unable to stop the first shot he was asked to deal with.

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