In the wake of their stunning victory over 2-1 Barcelona in the Champion’s League, a number of Celtic’s team will take the plaudits for their performance on Wednesday night.
But one young star shines very brightly indeed in what was undoubtedly a team victory and a team performance. 18-year-old Tony Watt made his Champions League debut as a substitute.
He came on for Mikael Lustig in the 72nd minute of the game, which, at that moment Celtic were leading the Spanish giants 1-0 thanks to a dominant header from another young Celtic star Victor Wanyama.
He might have only played twenty-odd minutes at Celtic Park but no doubt it’ll be a night that he’ll remember for the rest of his life and one which will likely see him go down in Celtic’s history as the night they beat the best team in the world.
But whilst Watt’s 83rd minute goal might have surprised the rest of us – a long ball from young goalkeeper Fraser Forster, arguably their best player of the night, that bounced perfectly for Watt to take just one controlled touch before sliding the ball past a somewhat dismayed Victor Valdes – may have come as less or a surprise to Celtic fans.
The young man has netted an impressive 6 goals in just 11 appearances in the Scottish Premier League so far this season and whilst neutral spectators may have been questioning manager Neil Lennon’s decision to bring on an 18-year-old striker for an injured defender against the most daunting attack on the planet, retrospectively the boss knew exactly what he was doing.
The Scottish starlet found himself almost completely isolated in the Barcelona half but managed to run rings around Javier Mascherano who has a torrid twenty minutes and will likely take the brunt of the blame for the defeat from a Barca perspective.
But Celtic deserved their win – not only were they solid, compact, and organized as they defended as a team, remaining resolute, resilient and focused throughout but they showed ambition and verve when they got their chance to break.
Tony Watt: star in the making? Not to Celtic fans, to whom a star has already been born.
image: © celticphotos