Europa League - Group E
Celtic3Rennes1

Celtic 3-1 Rennes: Neil Lennon's side top group with victory

Mikey Johnston scored in his first appearance since the start of September
Mikey Johnston scored in his first appearance since the start of September

Celtic confirmed top spot in Europa League Group E with one game to spare after a comfortable win over Rennes.

The victory, coupled with Lazio's 1-0 victory over CFR Cluj, means Neil Lennon's side will avoid Champions League dropouts in February's last 32.

Lewis Morgan's second Celtic goal and a Ryan Christie effort had the hosts in control, and Mikey Johnston added to the tally with a superb one-two finish.

Adrien Hunou's glancing header provided a late consolation for the French side.

Celtic will conclude their campaign in Romania against Cluj in two weeks in a game that is now a dead rubber.

'Feel-good night for Celtic machine'

Celtic could afford to do without Odsonne Edouard - he had "a niggle" - and still have this Europa League tie in the bag by the break. These are heady days for Lennon's side, a group that has transformed itself since elimination from the Champions League at the hands of Cluj. That failure seems like an eternity ago.

This is a team on the up and up and another feel-good night for Celtic in Europe. Rennes might have had no chance of progressing out of the group and they may be on a run of just two wins in 11 games, but they're a decent outfit that were made to look ordinary for the most part.

Olivier Ntcham and Scott Brown were impressively influential in the middle of the park, Christie was his usual buzz-bomb in attack and Morgan - playing in alien territory as Edouard's replacement - was excellent. When James Forrest came off, Johnston went on and his goal was the pick of the bunch. All three goalscorers were young Scottish players, none of them a day over 24.

Fraser Forster had his saves to make - one early on from Romain Del Castillo and a double block later on that was outstanding - but Celtic were great value for their victory and thoroughly deserving of winning the group. With that triumph comes the prize of a place in the last 32 as a seeded team.

Table

There's still a game to play in the group and Brown will miss it through suspension. He won't care a jot. The work has been done. The captain can recharge the batteries at home that night.

Celtic went ahead when Forrest came in from the left and played it into Morgan, whose timing and precision were perfect. He swept it home with aplomb. The second came just before the break when Brown showed his standard determination to win a header which found its way to Christie.

The midfielder, knocking on for a goal every other game this season, took a look up and thumped one on target, the ball bouncing in front of going behind Edouard Mendy. The fault lay with the goalkeeper, but Christie's strike was pure all the same. What an essential part of this Celtic machine he has become.

The visitors threatened early in the new half but they couldn't get the better of Forster despite having two stabs at it from point-blank range. The first one from Diafra Sakho bounced straight back off the colossus, the second one, from Theoson Siebatcheu was touched on to the post. The Rennes players could scarcely believe it.

Morgan had a strong penalty claim waved away when Mendy looked to have brought him down, but with 15 minutes left Celtic added their third and it was a beauty.

Johnston hadn't long come on the field for his first appearance since the first day of September, but when he played it to Ntcham and then took it back off him in the box, Rennes were done in. The speed of thought and speed of movement was too much, as was the finish, firmly put away to Mendy's right. Wonderful.

Lennon brought on Leigh Griffiths towards the end and the striker almost made it four only for his effort to be kicked away by Mendy. The place would have erupted had he scored.

Rennes got a consolation through a fine header from Hunou, but it didn't put the slightest dent on Celtic's night. Another step forward in an exciting and still developing European story.

Celtic have broken a record in European competition

Man of the match - Olivier Ntcham

For filling in so impressively for Edouard, Morgan is a worthy contender, but Ntcham was terrific out there. Clever, impactful, defensively strong and offensively creative, the Frenchman had a big say in this fine victory.

Match stats

  • Celtic have avoided defeat in each of their first five group stage games to a Champions League/Europa League campaign for the first time.
  • They have won four consecutive games in major European competitions (excluding qualifiers) for the first time since November 2002 in the Uefa Cup.
  • Rennes have lost four consecutive Europa League matches, their worst such streak in all European competitions since December 2005.
  • Forrest has been directly involved in three goals in his last four Europa League games - as many as he had in his previous 23 appearances in the competition.
  • Christie's goal was Celtic's first from outside the box in a major European competition (excluding qualifiers) since Callum McGregor against Ajax in the Europa League in November 2015.

Line-ups

Celtic

  • 67Forster
  • 13Bauer
  • 2Jullien
  • 35Ajer
  • 3TaylorBooked at 82mins
  • 8BrownBooked at 55minsSubstituted forBittonat 76'minutes
  • 42McGregor
  • 17ChristieBooked at 36minsSubstituted forGriffithsat 79'minutes
  • 21Ntcham
  • 49ForrestSubstituted forJohnstonat 67'minutes
  • 16Morgan

Substitutes

  • 1Gordon
  • 6Bitton
  • 9Griffiths
  • 11Sinclair
  • 18Rogic
  • 19Johnston
  • 41Robertson

Rennes

  • 16Mendy
  • 31Boey
  • 4NyamsiBooked at 61mins
  • 21Gnagnon
  • 17Maouassa
  • 22Del CastilloSubstituted forHunouat 74'minutes
  • 14BourigeaudBooked at 77mins
  • 12Lea Siliki
  • 20TaitSubstituted forGbohoat 80'minutes
  • 10GuitaneSubstituted forDa Cunhaat 65'minutes
  • 9SiebatcheuBooked at 10mins

Substitutes

  • 1Salin
  • 3Da Silva
  • 5Doumbia
  • 23Hunou
  • 26Gelin
  • 32Da Cunha
  • 34Gboho
Referee:
Espen Eskås
Attendance:
56,172

Match Stats

Home TeamCelticAway TeamRennes
Possession
Home63%
Away37%
Shots
Home12
Away12
Shots on Target
Home8
Away8
Corners
Home6
Away3
Fouls
Home16
Away14

Live Text

Match ends, Celtic 3, Rennes 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Celtic 3, Rennes 1.

Foul by Christopher Jullien (Celtic).

Adrien Hunou (Rennes) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Callum McGregor (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Benjamin Bourigeaud (Rennes).

Foul by Leigh Griffiths (Celtic).

Joris Gnagnon (Rennes) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Offside, Celtic. Olivier Ntcham tries a through ball, but Greg Taylor is caught offside.

Goal!

Goal! Celtic 3, Rennes 1. Adrien Hunou (Rennes) header from the left side of the six yard box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Faitout Maouassa with a cross.

Attempt missed. Jordan Siebatcheu (Rennes) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Benjamin Bourigeaud with a cross.

Attempt saved. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Nir Bitton.

Attempt saved. Lewis Morgan (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Olivier Ntcham.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Sacha Boey.

Booking

Greg Taylor (Celtic) is shown the yellow card.

Offside, Rennes. Benjamin Bourigeaud tries a through ball, but Lucas Da Cunha is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Rennes. Yann Gboho replaces Flavien Tait.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Leigh Griffiths replaces Ryan Christie.

Foul by Callum McGregor (Celtic).

Adrien Hunou (Rennes) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Ryan Christie (Celtic) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by James Lea Siliki (Rennes).

Attempt missed. Flavien Tait (Rennes) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left following a set piece situation.

Booking

Benjamin Bourigeaud (Rennes) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Greg Taylor (Celtic).

Lucas Da Cunha (Rennes) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Nir Bitton replaces Scott Brown.

Substitution

Substitution, Rennes. Adrien Hunou replaces Romain Del Castillo.

Goal!

Goal! Celtic 3, Rennes 0. Michael Johnston (Celtic) right footed shot from the right side of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Olivier Ntcham.

Foul by Christopher Jullien (Celtic).

Edouard Mendy (Rennes) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Faitout Maouassa.

Attempt blocked. Lewis Morgan (Celtic) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Michael Johnston.

Corner, Rennes. Conceded by Christopher Jullien.

Foul by Ryan Christie (Celtic).

Faitout Maouassa (Rennes) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Michael Johnston replaces James Forrest.

Moritz Bauer (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by James Lea Siliki (Rennes).

Corner, Rennes. Conceded by Fraser Forster.

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Thursday 28th November 2019

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Sevilla55001421215
2Apoel Nicosia52129817
3FK Qarabag5113710-34
4F91 Dudelange5104717-103

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1FC Copenhagen52305329
2Malmö FF52217618
3Dynamo Kyiv51316606
4Lugano502314-32

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1FC Basel5311104610
2Getafe53025419
3FK Krasnodar530278-19
4Trabzonspor501439-61

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Sporting5401114712
2LASK531184410
3PSV Eindhoven5212811-37
4Rosenborg5005210-80

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic5410104613
2CFR Cluj53024409
3Lazio520367-16
4Rennes501438-51

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Arsenal5311125710
2Frankfurt530267-19
3Standard Liege521268-27
4Vitória Guimarães502348-42

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Rangers52217528
2FC Porto521257-27
3Young Boys52127617
4Feyenoord512256-15

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Espanyol5320123911
2Ludogorets52129907
3Ferencvárosi TC513146-26
4CSKA Moscow502329-72

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1KAA Gent52309639
2Wolfsburg52218718
3Saint-Étienne504167-14
4Oleksandria503258-33

J

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1B Mgladbach522157-28
2Roma522110468
3Istanbul Basaksehir521258-37
4RZ Pellets WAC511356-14

K

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Sporting Braga5320117411
2Wolves531175210
3Slovan Bratislava511389-14
4Besiktas5104611-53

L

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Man Utd531162410
2AZ Alkmaar5230154119
3Partizan Belgrade512269-35
4FC Astana5104315-123
View full Europa League tables

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