A goals blitz in the first 15 minutes saw Celtic claim their first points in this season’s NextGen tournament as they swept past PSV Eindhoven.
Watched on by first team boss Neil Lennon, a penalty from Patrik Twardzik, followed by strikes from Callum McGregor and John Herron saw John Kennedy’s boys’ coast to a welcome three points.
The home side made two changes from the side that went down to defeat against Aston Villa, with Bahrudin Atajic and Jamie Lindsay dropping out and they were replaced by Denny Johnstone and Twardzik.
While Phillip Cocu made one change to the side that beat group leaders Sporting Lisbon, with Rai Vloet making way for Farshad Noor as the Dutch outfit looked to continue their unbeaten run in the group, heading into the Firhill clash.
Celtic were the dominant for the opening ten minutes, with Lewis Kidd, Callum McGregor and Twardzik all having chances, before the referee pointed to the spot for a pull of the jersey on the Czech winger and Twardzik stepped up and dispatched the ball into the net.
The PSV defence, who hadn’t conceded a goal in their first two group fixtures, soon found themselves two behind as a mistake at the back allowed McGregor to lob the keeper from less than six yards out and before Eric Verstappen could react, the ball was in the back of the net.
Only a couple of minutes later the PSV stopper was once again as he failed to deal with a cross from the right by Johnstone, fumbling the ball and allowing Herron the simplest of tasks to fire home Celtic’s third.
With his side three goals down at the half hour mark, Cocu decided to ring the changes early bringing on both Clint Leemans and Mohamed Rayhi for Noor and Mohamed Hahmoed.
The visitors managed to finally put one back, as Geraldo Antonio’s fierce strike from inside the Celtic box went past the helpless Leonardo Fasan to close the deficit as the teams went into the half-time interval.
The second half started off completely different from the first, with neither side able to gain a stranglehold, as strikes from Kidd for the home side and Antonio for PSV were easily seen away from danger by the respective keepers.
PSV almost got a second goal midway through the half as substitute Rayhi got his head onto a cross from the left and powered it towards goal, only to see Fasan stretch the frame of his body and divert the effort away for a corner.
With the game entering injury time, the visitors’ frustrations got the better of them as Rayhi reacted badly to a challenge from Herron and the referee Barry Cook had no option but to send the substitute off to end a miserable evening for the Dutch side.