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Glasgow Celtic picked up where they left of the previous round and continued their unbeaten run in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday home fixture against French side Rennes.
With a win Celtic secured their top spot in the group with one game left and have so far been unbeaten in the competition. Rennes had already been eliminated from the tournament and had little to play for, but still Celtic boss Neil Lennon managed to push his team to the limit in an impressive victory in front of the home crowd.
Despite having secured their progress to the knockout round, Celtic came into the game with most of their premium starting lineup intact. Neil Lennon had previously stated just that, and the win was crucial to clinch the top spot of the group, hence avoiding the Champions League 3rd placed teams for the first round of knockout games.
Celtic started the game as they have usually, with energy and determination. Starting lineup saw little changes but allowed the likes of Olivier Ntcham, Moritz Bauer, Greg Taylor and Lewis Morgan to get some much needed match preparation after only playing for random minutes during the season.
Fittingly it was Morgan to open the scoring on 22nd minute to take Celtic ahead. The home team never gave up the pressure and while Rennes managed to threaten Fraser Forster twice, they never looked dangerous enough. Ryan Christie added an insurance goal just before the half and sent the home team 2-0 ahead going into the half-time.
Rennes stood no chance as Celtic continued to dominate possession throughout the game. James Forrest, who had marked an assist to the first goal came off to be replaced by Michael Johnston, who made his first appearance since being injured from early September. Johnston thanked his boss and teammates by banging in the finalizing third goal only seven minutes after entering and took Celtic 3-0 ahead. After securing the victory Celtic pulled back somewhat and Rennes managed to score a consolation goal on the 89th minute to make the final score 3-1.
Celtic’s impressive victory sends them to the knockout stages of UEFA Europa League on top of their group with one game left to play in the group stages. Domestically, Celtic will face Ross County on Sunday to start the December.
Ross County vs Celtic (1×2): 15.00 – 7.20 – 1.14