Douglas unmoved by Hedman threat

Martin O'Neill says Robert Douglas has answered his critics by keeping Celtic's Champions' League ambitions alive.

Douglas' days as No 1 goalkeeper looked set to be over following the arrival of Magnus Hedman, but on Wednesday night against FC Basel it was his brilliant double second-half saves from Murat Yakin with the score at 2-1 that has given Douglas side a good opportunity to return to the money-spinning group stages.

While O'Neill has refused to make an issue of the fight for the gloves, Douglas has responded to the pressure by failing to put a foot wrong. Unlike last season, such competition could prevent the momentary lapses in concentration and see him produce some of the displays he regularly produced in the Champions' League last season.

"Robert Douglas had a brilliant 10-minute spell when we were getting tired in the game," O'Neill said. "He kept us in it at that stage with two great saves which allowed us the opportunity to get another goal." Momo Sylla's late strike was unfair on the Swiss champions, but at 3-1 the Scottish Premier League leaders are expected to complete the task in a fortnight.

It was an amazing turn-around after Christian Gimenez had stunned the home crowd with a goal after just 90 seconds. Henrik Larsson's penalty minutes later squared the tie before Chris Sutton's back-heel gave the home side the advantage.

Celtic could even afford the Swede having his second spot-kick saved, but a man-of-the-match performance from his English strike partner had the manager purring.

"He was absolutely magnificent," O'Neill said. "He is a top-class centre forward. He lost a bit of confidence at Chelsea, but he has showed enough European class to prove he is a very decent player."

A goal in the return leg in Switzerland would probably mean Celtic joining the first group stage of the competition and O'Neill is confident. "We are definitely capable of scoring and creating chances over there," he said.

The Basel coach, Christian Gross, is refusing to give up hope, but admits his side's lack of experience proved decisive. The former Tottenham manager said: "We lost a little bit of control in midfield after the break. We always had a man over in the first half and always looked like scoring, but they troubled us with their crosses.

"But looking back, we had so many inexperienced players in our side for this kind of game, which cost us the result. We had a brilliant start, but if you can't concentrate for another four minutes then then you let them back in.

"But you can't forget that this was the club's biggest game for 22 years at this level so this performance was OK."

News
The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
newsMinistry of Justice gets law 'terribly wrong' in its guide to courts
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
scienceFeed someone a big omelette, and they may give twice as much, thanks to a compound in the eggs
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links