Kyogo Furuhashi scored his sixth Celtic objective in a 2-0 Europa League qualifying victory over AZ Alkmaar in Glasgow.
The Japan ahead settled Celtic’s early nerves after a superb help from Tom Rogic, and James Forrest netted a deflected second-half objective to make sure his facet take a good lead into the second leg of the play-off.
Celtic have been denied a late third amid a dramatic goalmouth scramble however the Dutch facet confirmed sufficient going ahead to recommend the return leg shall be removed from a formality.
The victory made it 5 in a row for brand spanking new supervisor Ange Postecoglou, who introduced within the fit-again Liel Abada for Odsonne Edouard. There was no place for Leigh Griffiths among the many 11 substitutes.
How Furuhashi’s fairy-tale Celtic begin continued
The guests had an early penalty enchantment however Zakaria Aboukhlal went down very simply amid the eye of Stephen Welsh.
Celtic had a much bigger let-off when AZ skipper Teun Koopmeiners broke down the precise and crossed for Vangelis Pavlidis, whose shot appeared destined for the web just for Joe Hart’s toe to divert it off the within of a publish and into the goalkeeper’s fingers.
Rogic appeared resistant to the early shakiness affecting lots of his team-mates and he virtually put Furuhashi away with a looking out by ball earlier than establishing the Japan ahead for the opening objective within the Twelfth minute.
The Australian shimmied his technique to the byline and crossed for Furuhashi to point out his agility and volley residence from shut vary.
Celtic pushed for a fast second. Abada and Rogic compelled a double save and the identical pair each had pictures blocked after good wing play from Anthony Ralston.
Rogic continued to string passes and virtually obtained Forrest and Furuhashi in behind. The Scotland winger quickly got here shut with a curling effort that was clawed away from the highest nook.
There have been nonetheless occasional threats from AZ and Hart made a great diving cease from Aboukhlal after Carl Starfelt had given the ball away. A Welsh header and long-range David Turnbull strike have been off course earlier than half-time.
Cetic additionally had a serious reprieve early within the second half after Starfelt failed to chop out a by ball. Welsh snuffed out the preliminary hazard with a sliding problem and Thijs Oosting shot over from eight yards after the free ball fell completely for the left-back.
Greg Taylor diverted an Aboukhal shot simply large and the Celtic assist raised the decibel degree, recognising their group wanted assist. Postecoglou additionally responded, bringing on Edouard for Abada.
Celtic quickly went two up within the 61st minute. Furuhashi performed the ball into Forrest, who had his again to objective however managed to get in a shot that took a serious deflection off Timo Letschert and wrong-footed the goalkeeper.
The noise ranges went up additional as the house assist loved the two-goal cushion, though there was a second of silence earlier than Ralston additional enhanced his burgeoning popularity with a sliding clearance within the six-yard field.
Rogic got here near the objective his general play deserved with a long-range strike that was pushed over the crossbar.
The Australian and Furuhashi have been changed by James McCarthy and Adam Montgomery for the ultimate quarter-hour and Celtic seemed like that they had settled for 2.
Nevertheless, that they had a string of efforts after Ralston obtained to the byline and lower the ball again. Edouard was denied twice by the goalkeeper earlier than Montgomery’s header was cleared off the road.
What the supervisor mentioned…
Celtic supervisor Ange Postecoglou instructed BBC Scotland: “It was a great sport of soccer. They’re a great group, they took it to us at occasions and made if troublesome, however we stood there and tried to play our soccer. We’ll go there and check out impose our soccer on the sport. When you begin desirous about safety, you give them a little bit of a bonus.
“Kyogo’s at all times a risk. He is consistently on the shoulders of defenders. Hart’s bettering each sport. He is an skilled man and it offers the group confidence that he is in objective.”
Celtic host St. Mirren within the Scottish Premiership on Saturday at 3pm, earlier than heading to Holland for the second leg of their Europa League play-off in opposition to AZ Alkmaar on Thursday at 7.15pm.