Match ends, Celtic 2, Ferencvaros 0.
A "more stable" Celtic kept their Europa League knockout hopes alive with a deserved win over Hungarian champions Ferencvaros, says Ange Postecoglou.
Kyogo Furuhashi slid home the opener from a sublime Jota pass after a frustrating first half.
Balint Vecsei's unfortunate own goal confirmed victory after Callum McGregor's earlier penalty miss had prolonged Celtic's nerves in Glasgow.
"We're just more settled now," Postecoglou said.
"The players have been together for a good month now, all of them. Not just a week or two. We're getting players back from injury and adding players to the squad which is making us look more stable.
"We've still got improvements to do, as I keep saying we're at the beginning of a journey, there were good signs and rewards like tonight will encourage them to keep going.
"This gives us a chance, an opportunity, to keep our hopes alive, which we had to do."
The opening defeats by Real Betis and Bayer Leverkusen meant Celtic had to win to have any chance of progressing in this competition.
Despite the unusual 15:30 BST kick-off time, partly due to Glasgow's hosting of the United Nations' COP26 Climate Conference, a bumper crowd turned out at Celtic Park to help their team on their mission.
They were the more assertive side in the opening 45 minutes but were held at arm's length by Ferencvaros, who decided to sit off and deny their hosts the space they crave.
Kyogo cut a frustrated figure up front as he struggled to sneak off the shoulder of his markers, with influential winger Jota coming closest with two efforts which Ferencvaros goalkeeper Denes Dibusz did well to keep out.
The Benfica loanee is growing in stature each week at Celtic, and it was his driving run from his own half and pinpoint pass that finally released Kyogo in behind the Ferencvaros backline, as the Japan forward stayed composed to cushion the ball into his path and stroke home the opening goal.
The relief at Celtic Park was evident, and there was further elation three minutes later as Adam Montgomery cleverly drew a foul from Henry Wingo to earn a penalty which gave the home side the chance to all but secure a precious win.
But Celtic have rarely looked convincing for 90 minutes this season and Dibusz read McGregor's spot kick and dived brilliantly to his left to keep the score at 1-0 and set up a nervous ending.
However, Ferencvaros' promise of a brave, attacking display failed to materialise as Celtic kept their foot on the throttle, eventually being rewarded with 10 minutes left.
McGregor's excellent tackle allowed Jota to tee up Turnbull, and despite the Scotland midfielder making a meal of a simple tap in, an attempted clearance appeared to hit off Vecsei and found the top corner.
Postecoglou's men had later chances to make the win more emphatic - and also a few defensive scares - but ultimately got the win they desperately craved.
Man of the match - Callum McGregor
What did we learn?
This was a much-needed convincing victory for Celtic on the European stage, having conceded four goals in losing five of their last six Europa League group games.
McGregor was outstanding at the base of midfield, getting on the ball more than anyone, completing all but three of his 107 passes, and recovering possession seven times, pressing brilliantly to win the ball and ultimately tee up the second goal. His importance to the way Celtic play is hard to overestimate.
Another positive was the continued excellent form of Jota, who now has seven goal involvements in nine games for Celtic, and looks like a player with the technical ability to get better and better.
Postecoglou will also be delighted with a second consecutive clean sheet given their defensive frailties this season, although Ferencvaros did not bring the dynamism on the counter attack that was expected, and Joe Hart and Anthony Ralston still had to make crucial interventions to keep the visitors out.
There is still much for this team to prove, but a more settled squad and three straight wins will help to improve cohesion and confidence.
What they said
Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou: "We controlled the first half well and they had to work hard to stifle us a little bit but we still created some chances and denied them any opportunities.
"We knew they'd tire a bit second half because they were working so hard and the game opened up and we got a really good goal. After that, we could have had a couple more."
What the stats say
- Celtic have won six of their eight matches at home to Hungarian opponents in all European competitions (D1 L1), keeping a clean sheet in four of their last five such games.
- Including qualifying matches, Ferencvaros have now lost each of their last six matches in European competition, extending what was already their longest run of defeats in Europe.
- Celtic have ended a run of 14 Europa League matches without a clean sheet, recording one for the first time since October 2019 at home to CFR Cluj. They had conceded 36 goals across their last 14 matches in the competition.
- Kyogo Furuhashi is the first Japanese player to score for Celtic in a European encounter since Shunsuke Nakamura bagged against Man Utd back in November 2006 in the Champions League.
- Celtic forward Jota has had the highest number of shots of any player in the Europa League this season (12), though the Portuguese is still awaiting his first goal in the competition.
- Since his first full breakout season for Manchester City back in 2010-11, only four other Englishmen have appeared in more European matches (Europa League/Champions League) than Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart (59, excluding qualifiers - James Milner, Raheem Sterling, Chris Smalling and Kyle Walker).
- 56RalstonBooked at 40mins
- 4StarfeltBooked at 28mins
- 54MontgomeryBooked at 68minsSubstituted forScalesat 75'minutes
- 18RogicSubstituted forBittonat 71'minutes
- 11AbadaSubstituted forGiakoumakisat 71'minutes
- 8FuruhashiSubstituted forJohnstonat 86'minutes
- 17Neves Filipe
- 3MmaeeBooked at 40mins
- 16ZachariassenSubstituted forLoncarat 66'minutes
- 93LaidouniSubstituted fordo Rosário Calmonat 67'minutes
- 10Chol NguenSubstituted forMakat 83'minutes
- 7do Rosário Calmon
- Jakob Kehlet
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Celtic 2, Ferencvaros 0.
Liam Scales (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ryan Mmaee (Ferencvaros).
Attempt saved. Michael Johnston (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Carl Starfelt.
Attempt missed. Jota (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Michael Johnston with a through ball following a fast break.
Foul by Liam Scales (Celtic).
Somália (Ferencvaros) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Attempt missed. Ryan Mmaee (Ferencvaros) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Bálint Vécsei.
Substitution, Celtic. Michael Johnston replaces Kyogo Furuhashi.
Attempt missed. David Turnbull (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Jota with a through ball.
Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ryan Mmaee (Ferencvaros).
Substitution, Ferencvaros. Róbert Mak replaces Tokmac Chol Nguen.
Giorgos Giakoumakis (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Miha Blazic (Ferencvaros).
Own Goal by Bálint Vécsei, Ferencvaros. Celtic 2, Ferencvaros 0.
Attempt missed. David Turnbull (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Jota.
Attempt missed. Giorgos Giakoumakis (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Kyogo Furuhashi with a cross.
Giorgos Giakoumakis (Celtic) wins a free kick on the left wing.