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Celtic have sampled so few successes in Champions League away matches that they are entitled to cherish this one. The perfect response to a mauling at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain was supplied on a comfortable evening in Brussels.
This marked Celtic’s second win in 28 attempts on the road in the competition. It also marks the first time in the Champions League they have kept a clean sheet away from home. Wider context is positive for a team who enjoy such dominance in Scotland that ability is often underplayed. On this evidence Celtic are vastly superior to Anderlecht in all departments. Another away trip, to Bayern Munich next month, suddenly carries heavy significance.
“It was an outstanding performance and result,” said the Hoops manager, Brendan Rodgers. “Everyone had built the game up before; it was a real pressure game for us. For a Scottish team to come away, win 3-0 and keep a clean sheet at this level, is a big achievement.”
Anderlecht’s dismal opening to the season has left them sitting seventh in their top flight and without a permanent manager. Unsurprisingly, Brian Leetch Youth Jersey Rodgers stressed before kick-off that they remained formidable as Celtic sought to kickstart their season away from the domestic scene. The deployment of such an attacking XI – Scott Sinclair, Tom Rogic and Patrick Roberts all started in support of Leigh Griffiths – suggested the manager quietly sensed Anderlecht’s vulnerability.
After a turgid opening spell, it took 31 minutes for either goalkeeper to be called into action, Anderlecht’s Frank Boeckx saving a long-range drive from Olivier Ntcham comfortably.
Celtic alleviated the tedium with a fine move that deserved its reward of the opening goal. Ntcham played a terrific pass to the marauding Kieran Tierney. The left-back’s low cross found Griffiths at the back post, and the striker took a single touch to convert.
Anderlecht could have restored parity within a minute, Craig Gordon instead holding an attempt from Sofiane Hanni. The captain really should have done better having permitted himself space and time. The home side duly opened the second period with a brief vigour not witnessed in the first. A dipping, swerving shot from Hanni caused Gordon problems before Celtic produced a response sufficient to settle any nerves.
Dreadful defending played a key part in that goal, Olivier Deschacht miscontrolling a pass from Leander Dendoncker to the point where Roberts could pinch possession. Alexander Steen Youth Jersey The Manchester City loanee lashed a shot that bounded past Boeckx via a deflection off Serigne Mbodji. There was little doubt as to where the Anderlecht blame lay; Deschacht was replaced minutes later.
Anderlecht huffed and puffed in search of salvation that never really looked like arriving. The perfect night for Rodgers was completed by Sinclair, who clipped the ball home in stoppage time. “I believe we can be better than we were tonight,” the manager added.
Maybe even Bayern will take note. Celtic’s travel sickness has been cured.


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