Celtic claimed their first Champions League Group C point as Pep Guardiola’s perfect record in charge of Manchester City was ended with a draw in Glasgow. The hosts led twice in the first half, Moussa Dembele diverting in Erik Sviatchenko’s header and Kieran Tierney forcing an own goal by Raheem Sterling. Fernandinho’s strike brought City level first time and Sterling showed composure to net the visitors’ second. Nolito equalised for the visitors again after Dembele had netted on the turn.
Celtic retook the lead with a counter-attack of such quality that it could have carried the Guardiola trademark. Nir Bitton and Tom Rogic did wonderfully to launch it, the Australian setting Tierney free down the left. The teenager, as beloved a full-back as any in these parts since Danny McGrain was tearing it up, cut in, shot and saw his attempt deflected in off Sterling’s boot. Cue more pandemonium. Cue City’s brilliance too. Brown was too easily dispossessed and City sliced through, David Silva playing a sumptuous pass to the magnificent Sterling, who finished with all the class of a player reborn under his new manager.
City’s defensive malaise carried on at the start of the second half. Kolarov, playing fitfully at centre-half, was desperately poor in the build-up to Celtic’s third. When Tierney put in a cross, City’s rearguard was in a comatose state. Dembele had time to take it down and hook it behind him and beyond Claudio Bravo. This was brilliantly bonkers and the atmosphere intensified when Sergio Aguero forced a fine save from Craig Gordon only for the impressive Nolito to put away the loose ball. City took control, pinning a tiring Celtic back and threatening to sicken them with a winner. Fernandinho launched a rocket that flew just over. Gundogan’s shot hit off Sviatchenko and Gordon and went out. City pressed and pressed. The heart from the home team was immense. Some of them were out on their feet before the end, but they dug in, throwing themselves in front of shots and crosses, surviving. They deserved to. City could hardly disagree that the underdogs merited their point.