Olivier Ntcham's last-gasp strike earned the Hoops their first win in Italy and a place in the Europa League last 32.

James Forrest hails Lazio win as one of the best in Celtic's history

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  • 2019-11-08 19:25:11 3 months ago
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James Forrest could scarcely believe Celtic qualifying for the last 32 of the Europa League on Thursday night with two Group E games still remaining.

The Hoops' 2-1 victory over Lazio in the Stadio Olimpico was not only the club's first win on Italian soil but it left them top of the section on 10 points to secure European football after Christmas, with fixtures against Rennes at home and Cluj away still to play.

It looked like being a long night for Neil Lennon's side when they fell behind after seven minutes to a goal from striker Ciro Immobile.

However, the Scottish champions steeled themselves and Forrest deservedly levelled in the 38th minute with a terrific finish.

Then, with seconds remaining of five added minutes, French midfielder Olivier Ntcham, on for Ryan Christie, dinked in the winner for Celtic's first victory in Italy in 13 attempts.

Forrest told Press Association Sport: "It is unreal. It is a great feeling.

"It was an unbelievable night, one of the best the club and me have had. To be 1-0 down and coming back and obviously scoring a last-minute winner, it is frightening.

"When you seen the draw you knew it was going to be a really tough group. I don't think anyone could have called it before, who was going to be first or second, so to do it after four games is unbelievable and it is credit to everyone.

"We will be looking forward to the draw and being in Europe after Christmas. You want to play in those games and I think everyone will be buzzing, whoever we get."

Ntcham's cleverly-finished winner from an Odsonne Edouard pass on a swift last-gasp counter attack completed the double over a Lazio side who had moved into fourth place in Serie A with three wins in the league since they lost 2-1 at Parkhead last month.

Scotland winger Forrest played down his contribution to the night but is aware of its significance.

Ahead of the Ladbrokes Premiership clash with Motherwell at Parkhead on Sunday, he said: "I was delighted to strike it well and for it go in.

"It got us going and after the goal we really kicked on and played really well.

"Credit to the boys. We came out in the second half and played really well and looked really strong. Everyone gave it their all and put in a great shift.

"Celtic have gone to Italy a few times and not won and since we beat Lazio a few weeks ago they have won three big games. They are a good team so I think it shows how well we have done in the group so far.

"But it is good that even though we have had good results in the group we just keep going, and the confidence levels with everyone in the team is sky high.

"It is a great feeling. It was some night."

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James Forrest hails Lazio win as one of the best in Celtic's history

Olivier Ntcham "really proud" of late winner in famous win over Lazio

Olivier Ntcham was delighted to make history for Celtic by scoring a stunning late winner against Lazio on Thursday night.

The French midfielder came off the bench for Ryan Christie at the Stadio Olimpico in the second-half with the game at 1-1, after James Forrest's strike had cancelled out Ciro Immobile's early opener for the home side.

As both sides went for the winner Ntcham latched on to an Odsonne Edouard pass in the fifth of five added minutes and dinked the ball over goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha to guarantee Celtic a place in the last-32 of the Europa League with two Group E fixtures remaining.

It was also Celtic's first win on Italian soil in 13 attempts and Ntcham told the club's Youtube channel.

"I didn't know that but it is good news for everybody

"It is a great feeling and I am really happy for my team and for myself too. It was a difficult angle but I was really proud of my finish.

"It was a brilliant atmosphere and I think everybody is happy now. We managed the game better in the second-half.

"We started the game a bit slow but after the first goal we scored, we got into the game.

"It was a good game to play in and the supporters can be really proud of the team."

Celtic skipper Scott Brown described the victory as  "exceptional".

Celtic v St Mirren – Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership – Celtic Park
Celtic's Scott Brown was delighted with the win (Jeff Holmes/PA)

The midfielder said: "We have managed to qualify after four games, it shows you how hard we have worked.

"It is the first time any Celtic side have won on Italian soil and it means a lot to us.

"They have a great team, they have great players and players who are worth a lot of money.

"It shows what a good quality team we are as well".

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