Celtic suffered a miserable trip to Austria on Thursday night as 3 second half goals in the space of 18 minutes saw them lose ground in their bid for qualification to the knockout stages with two tricky looking fixtures against RB Leipzig in waiting.
Celtic’s clash against RB Salzburg had the makings of a European night to savour for the Hoops when Odsonne Edouard scored the opening goal with less than 2 minutes on the clock, but a comeback looked increasingly inevitable throughout proceedings and the hosts thoroughly deserved their win in the end.
Brendan Rodgers’ pre-match preparation was slightly scuppered by a hamstring injury obtained by Scott Brown and Yussuf Mulumbu did an excellent job in central midfield in his absence, but Mulumbu’s brilliance couldn’t hide the fact that Celtic lacked the presence of a genuine leader on the night.
And with an SPFL clash against St Johnstone to come on Sunday afternoon, it appears that Celtic will have to find a way to win without their influential lynchpin as after the defeat in Salzburg Rodgers revealed: “I don’t think he’ll (Brown) be available for the weekend. Mulumbu came in with limited games and I thought he did really well.”
For however commendable Mulumbu’s performance was Olivier Ntcham’s was equally as disappointing.
The 22-year-old’s inconsistency is one of the most frustrating aspects of his game; he can play like a world beater in one fixture and a distinctly average footballer in the next, depending on his appetite for the occasion.
Considering Brown looks likely to miss the upcoming trip to St Johnstone, Mulumbu will inevitably be handed a second consecutive start, but with little by way of alternative options in midfield Rodgers is likely to give Ntcham another chance despite his abject showing in Austria.
Brown’s absence is always a sore point for Celtic supporters who simply adore their club captain, but with Ntcham’s poor form also to take into consideration it’s a concerning time for both Rodgers and the Hoops faithful.
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