Leigh Griffiths names Celtic teammate who was excellent in first-leg of Astana tie

General view inside Celtic Park

The Scottish Premiership side secured a promising 1-1 draw from the game in Kazakhstan.

Celtic's Leigh Griffiths celebrates after scoring their second goalCeltic's Leigh Griffiths

Leigh Griffiths has singled out Eoghan O'Connell for praise following his performance in the first-leg of Celtic's Champions League third qualifying round tie with Astana, the Evening Times reports.

The Hoops go into the second-leg next Wednesday all square after the first contest with the champions of Kazakhstan. And with an away goal under their belts thanks to Griffiths' late equaliser, Brendan Rodgers will surely be delighted with how the tie currently looks. 

Celtic manager Brendan RodgersCeltic manager Brendan Rodgers

What would have surely pleased the Northern Irishman more than anything was that his makeshift defence was only breached on one occasion. Injuries to the likes of Jozo Simunovic and Erik Sviatchenko meant that mistake-prone Efe Ambrose played alongside O'Connell, who before last night's game, had made just five league appearances for the Bhoys.

And while the youngster's poor marking led to Astana's goal, Griffiths was hugely impressed by the way that the 20-year-old bounced back. 

Eoghan O'Connell scores the first goal for CelticEoghan O'Connell playing against Leicester in the Champions Cup

"He had a couple of slack passes in the first half but he grew in confidence as the game went on. He coped really well against Leicester at the weekend and showed that he can cope with these games at this level," he told the Evening Times.

"He strolled it against the English Champions and the manager had no qualms about throwing him in. You could see why. He was excellent."

Dundee United's Ryan McGowan in action with Celtic's Eoghan O'Connell

With the lack of options currently available to Rodgers - though new signing Kolo Toure may well feature in the second-leg - O'Connell will surely be looking at this spell in the team as a chance to do what Kieran Tierney did one year ago. 

And while Rodgers will not have been impressed by his marking for the goal, his attitude following the setback suggests that he could have plenty to offer in the future. 

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