Goals from Odsonne Edouard, James Forrest and a late finish from Callum McGregor gave Celtic an important and comprehensive win in a tricky encounter against Alashkert in the first qualifying round of Champions League.
Spectators saw a fairly tight first half in the sweltering heat of Yerevan. The hosts looked to sit back as the Scottish champions dominated the possession and looked to break down the Alashkert backline.
The main threat for Alashkert came on the break as their striker Uros Nenadovic looked to test his pace against Kristoffer Ajer and Jozo Simunovic.
Moussa Dembele and Callum McGregor came closest to opening the scoring. Dembele had a shot saved while McGregor flashed a shot just wide from inside the box.
A few misplaced passes from Olivier Ntcham and others in the midfield made it difficult for the away side to keep up any real sustained pressure.
However, as things looked to be going into half-time level, Celtic’s record signing struck. The ball fell to James Forrest in the box who fluffed his lines but straight to Odsonne Edouard, who calmly guided a low shot past the keeper for 1-0 and that all-important away goal.
In the second half, Artak Edigaryan’s dipping effort drew Craig Gordon into a decent save but Alashkert struggled to find a way to goal.
Eboue Kouassi, Scott Sinclair and Lewis Morgan all featured off the bench as the game drew on and as Celtic looked more and more comfortable.
After pinball in the box, it eventually came to James Forrest who confidently side-footed the ball home to give Celtic a two-goal cushion.
With just minutes left on the clock, Callum McGregor wrapped things up in style with a low shot rifled into the bottom corner.
Check out our player ratings from this evening’s 3-0 victory.
Craig Gordon - 6/10
Dealt well with some difficult low balls into the box but was rarely troubled.
Tipped over a moving effort from Edigaryan midway through the second half.
Jack Hendry - 5.5/10
Made some good early challenges on the right hand side and looked confident in his passing.
Made a terrible error and hesitated on a through pass allowing Jefferson Reis a great chance on goal but Gordon was there to stop.
Kristoffer Ajer - 6/10
Looked comfortable and dealt with the small threat posed by Alashkert.
Managed to block Jefferson Reis’ close range shot over the bar to prevent a late equaliser.
Jozo Simunovic - 6/10
Produced a great sliding block to deny Nendanovic in the first half but otherwise it was an easy outing for the defender.
James Forrest - 7/10
Saw his attacking and defensive duties as expected and looked dangerous as the game progressed. Flew a shot just over the bar after half an hour.
Moved central when Morgan came on and kept his cool to fire the ball into the net inside the box to seal victory.
Scott Brown - 6/10
Continued where he left off from last season with a comfortable display whilst leading his team well.
Olivier Ntcham - 5.5/10
Saw a lot of the ball but some sloppiness started to creep into the Frenchman’s game. However, he will surely gain more sharpness in the games to come.
Was taken off for Eboue Kouassi in the second half.
Callum McGregor - 7/10
Found space in attacking areas well and got involved in most of Celtic’s good build-up play.
Came very close after a low shot flashed wide after 35 minutes but got his goal from a similar shot late on.
Kieran Tierney - 7/10
Showed his pace down the left throughout and was a contast threat while adding a different dynamic to Celtic’s attack.
Whipped a terrific ball for Dembele early on with the striker just inches away from scoring.
Moussa Dembele - 7/10
Had a curling effort clawed away by Cancarevic in goal and was a handful for the hosts.
Was replaced by Sinclair in the second period.
His partnership with Edouard is certain to grow with gametime.
Odsonne Edouard - 7/10
Pressed the game high along with his strike partner Dembele.
A great low finish gave his side the opener as he showed great composure with the ball coming fast at him.
Caused problems with his strength up top but was eventually replaced by Lewis Morgan with 15 minutes remaining.
Eboue Kouassi - 5/10
Replaced Olivier Ntcham after 68 minutes to add some fresh legs to the midfield and preserve Celtic’s lead.
Scott Sinclair - 5/10
Came on for Moussa Dembele and made a few decent attacking runs as his side cruised to victory.
Lewis Morgan - 6/10
Replaced Edouard and got a late run-out on the right-hand side.
Showed flashes of the pace and skill that earned him his move to Parkhead.