• STV
  • MySTV

NextGen Series: Celtic 1-3 FC Barcelona

Celtic avoid Catalan catastrophe but are defeated by Barça in the NextGen Series.

NextGen Series: Celtic 1-3 FC Barcelona
©SNS Group

Celtic’s under-19’s slumped to a 3-1 defeat last night in their first home game of the NextGen Series.

The game was a much tighter affair than many had anticipated, though ultimately the Barcelona youths had too much for the Parkhead side.

The Barcelona under-19’s proved to be a faithful representation of the familiar Barça philosophy, with much of their best play coming from smart midfield moves in tight spaces.

Even in the warm-up, the youths were using the same techniques as their Camp Nou superiors. Players took part in rondos, a type of piggy in the middle that encourages one touch passing and defensive positioning. 

This training method in particular has become synonymous with Pep Guardiola’s era at the Camp Nou, and despite its simplicity, is often credited with helping the team to develop their patented brand of football.

Celtic coach John Kennedy highlighted the seemingly simple Barça approach, and noted that “they do nothing fancy, and it’s effective. We need to aspire to be there and I think we’re more than capable.”

The match started with some uncharacteristically hurried distribution from the Barça players. Celtic’s early pressure meant the Barcelona backline were regularly forced to commit a Camp Nou no-no and play the ball in the air out of danger.

The Catalans have yet to begin their season, perhaps accounting for their lack of sharpness in the early minutes. They soon settled however, and much like their famous superiors, it was their midfielders who began to shine.

Number six Patricio Gabarron started to win the ball back regularly, and his calm passing was often at the heart of Barca’s most threatening moves in the first half.

The opening goal came from a different Barça star however, number seven Ernesto Cornejo calmly cushioned the ball into the back of the net after an excellent low cross from the right.

Cornejo was named "Best Striker" at the PSV Eindhoven tournament in early August, and he grew in stature as the game progressed. His intelligent runs and quick feet often caused the Celtic defence problems, forcing several corners throughout the game.

Celtic responded well to the Barça goal. Number 10 Filip Twardzik wriggled his way out of pressure from the Barcelona forwards, and his excellent cross field pass was picked up by number nine Anthony Watt. Watt fooled several defenders before thundering the ball into the Barça net to level the tie.

As the half-time whistle went, Celtic would have been happy with their timely equaliser. Barça coach Oscar Garcia obviously said something to his players during the break however, as they began the second half at a much higher tempo than the first.

Barça were soon in front after the Celtic defenders failed to clear a seemingly harmless low cross into their box.  Sloppy errors like this prove costly in European ties, and Celtic will be disappointed to concede in such an easy manner.

The third came soon after, when Barca’s Jean Marie Dongou fired home from the left of the box. The striker was later substituted to thunderous applause, with the Parkhead crowd showing class in their appreciation of the hard working forward.

After the third Barcelona were happy to control the tie by keeping the ball to themselves, though in truth there wasn’t a huge gulf in quality between the two sides on the night.

It is worth noting that several star players from last year’s Barça side have now been moved up to the club's B team. Indeed, exciting fifteen year old leftback Alejandro Grimaldo was originally billed to appear at the tournament, though it appears that he will no longer feature due to being promoted to Barça B last week. The lack of cohesion sometimes displayed in the Barça defence may be accounted for by such losses of important players.

Despite the defeat, Celtic will be encouraged by the willingness of their players to move the ball along the ground. They often looked equal to their opponents and the two sides were only separated by moments of real quality in the end.

FC Barcelona will be thrilled that their next generation of players seem to have a clear understanding of the philosophy of the club. With Pep Guardiola’s unashamed love of midfielders, the young stars in the centre of the park will set their ambitions high over the next few years.   

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.