Atletico may have been the bad guys back in 1974. But Martin O’Neill insists they wouldn't have got the penalty they did against Celtic 49 years later.
Greg Taylor was the culprit when he tripped Nahuel Molina after being caught out by a pass inside him and the Argentinian hit the deck, with the referee pointing to the spot immediately. Antione Griezmann’s effort was tipped onto the post by Joe Hart, but the Frenchman gobbled up the rebound to level.
O’Neill admitted he was showing his age, but was adamant that the challenge from Taylor wolnd't have been enough to warrant a spot kick back in his day. He told TNT Sports: “You know that Atletico Madrid are going to come into the game, albeit through a penalty kick which I thought was very, very harsh. It's a difficult one, because you just switch off for a second or two.
“Taylor’s just been caught on the wrong side. The fella Molina’s just got in. I still think it’s... I’d have to go back and watch the 1974 debacle. Had it been 1974, that would never have been a penalty kick! I’m showing my age. It’s an equaliser for Atletico Madrid and it drains you. You feel as though you've fought so hard for it then given away a really soft penalty, and it’s one each."
Former Hoops boss Neil Lennon was thrilled with the display from Brendan Rodgers’ team. He even went as far to say it was like watching the Celtic of old, although whether he meant his Celtic specifically is up for debate. Lennon gushed: “The first half was brilliant. It’s the best I've seen Celtic play for quite a while - it was like the good old days!
“You always felt that there would be a reaction from Atletico. They made two changes, which is a compliment to the way Celtic played. They get the goal back and from then on, Celtic didn't look they were going to win it, but didn’t really look like they were going to lose it either. But the ferocity of the game and the pace that Celtic set. Not just the running power, but the speed of their play.
“They were cutting Atletico open at times. The goals are brilliant examples. What you don't want is when you're on top is half-time to come. It’s a real blow. You sit down and cool down for 15 and Brendan will have a few words with the coaches. Then you've got to get up to that level again. That’s really hard to do, especially when you;re playing at the intensity there were. And that proved to be the case.