When Jozo Simunovic slipped to give Copenhagen the chance they opened the scoring from early in the second half, you could hardly say it came as a surprise. Not because the Danes were knocking on the door, but because the centre-back had been an accident waiting to happen all night.

He made at least four errors in the first half that went unpunished, looking slack right from the off. He wouldn’t be so lucky at the start of the second period, as his partner Christopher Jullien couldn’t atone for his error, and Michael Santos poked home.

The decision to move Kristoffer Ajer to right-back to accommodate Simunovic backfired, and not only because of the slackness of the Croat. Celtic missed the thrusting runs of Jeremie Frimpong up the right, and while Ajer tried his best to get up in support of James Forrest, he was nowhere near as effective.

By the end, Celtic’s backline was all over the place.


Ironically, just moments before Copenhagen took the lead, Celtic had a perfectly good goal chopped off of their own as Callum McGregor side-footed into the roof of the net from the edge of the area.

The referee had already blown though for an apparent foul on goalkeeper Karl-Johan Johnsson. Yes, there may have been some slight contact between the keeper and Celtic defender Jullien, but it didn’t look enough to have been called as an infringement, and it was a huge reprieve for the visitors. One they would make the most of soon after.


The home side had looked comfortable during the first half without ever really hitting their straps, but it was alarming how rattled they looked as soon as Santos had put Copenhagen ahead. Suddenly, with the visitors snapping at their heels and their adrenaline pumping, Celtic could hardly do anything right. Passes were going astray, there was no semblance of shape, and Copenhagen looked likelier to add a second than Celtic did of turning things around.

Even the introduction of Leigh Griffiths and a change back to 3-5-2 failed to spark things, with Jullien reduced to shelling long balls through the middle towards the frontmen, a tactic which played right into the hands of the towering Victor Nelsson.


After giving a penalty against Celtic last week in the Telia Parken – which Fraser Forster saved – it looked like the technology had ridden to the rescue here for Lennon’s side as it spotted a handball from Ragnar Sigurdsson that had missed by referee Artur Dias.

Odsonne Edouard, who had been a peripheral figure throughout, stepped up and produced a Panenka that was wholly out of place with the haphazard play of Celtic in the second half. There was just seven minutes left on the clock, but there were further twists to come.


It is strange to say this of a European night at Celtic Park, but the electric atmosphere that so often accompanies these special evenings wasn’t quite there even prior to kick off.

Perhaps there were nerves in the air, but the flatness in the stands transmitted its way onto the field, and the players couldn’t produce anything to spark the punters into life either.

The only time the old ground was bouncing was in the two-minute period between Edouard’s penalty that looked to have put Celtic through, and Biel’s second for Copenhagen, which acted as a gut-punch that sucked the air out of the stadium.

By the time N’Doye somehow bulldozed his way through to add a third for Stale Solbakken’s side, it was like a wake rather than the party the home fans were probably expecting.