After crime scenes involving Cluj, Ferencvaros and Copenhagen, it's a novelty Celtic have kept a clean sheet at home in a vital European game against opposition better than FK Suduva and AIK.

Make no mistake though, although Celtic impressed on Wednesday night, AZ Alkmaar should have scored in Parkhead and finished the game with an xG of 1.46.

The importance of a clean sheet isn't quite nullified, but perhaps diluted, by UEFA's removal of the away goals rule, but a two-goal cushion at the start of play next Thursday is quite a nice buffer for Celtic's backside should an early goal blow them over.

Not that Ange Postecoglou will be strapping anything as protection to his players' anatomies anyway, asserting to the press at full-time his team will go to the Netherlands and approach the game in the same fashion as they did on Thursday. Attack.

Football matches hinge on moments so it's all ifs, buts and maybes... but, Alkmaar had rather easy chances to either take the lead or equalise and didn't. In saying that, a look at the highlights tells us one particular area of the park was exploited more than others when it came to the creation of goalscoring opportunities.

Considering the metaphorical hair ruffles Tony Ralston's been on the receiving end of for his performance, it might come as a surprise. Considering his next-door neighbour to the left was Carl Starfelt, who's taking his time getting settled in, it might not.

Celtic Way:

Wyscout data tells us the visitors created five "goalscoring opportunities" from open play midweek, plus two from corners, with all of the attacks emanating from AZ's left or inside-left channel in the half-space.

READ MORE: Tactical and data-driven match report on victory over AZ

There's no specific green light that's started all these attacks. There's no constant scapegoat that these openings can be attributed to. A Liel Abada loose pass, not reacting quickly enough to a second ball, a Starfelt stray pass, the timing of an attempted Starfelt interception, and AZ's Teun Koopmeiners being afforded around 25 yards of space to run into before threading the ball for an arriving colleague in the box all contribute to the shot count.

Celtic Way:

What seems fairly certain, is that when possession was turned over, this is the area of the park AZ wanted to exploit. Whether that's down to the targeting of Ralston, Starfelt, or both, is speculation.

What's evidential, is they had a lot of joy doing it and if it weren't for Joe Hart's early save or the blazing of a football from about eight yards, they would have profited from it.

Stephen Welsh was superb at LCB and prevented a couple of opportunities from turning into goals thanks to his recovery runs and last-ditch tackling. His more common berth is on the right, where Starfelt started and it's food for thought to ponder if the Dutch would have had the same joy down the left had Welsh been deployed in his usual position.

Celtic Way:

43 per cent of their attacks came down that side, compared to a measly seven on the opposite flank. Compare this to Celtic, who used both flanks to their advantage almost equally.

Celtic Way:

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Right-back and centre-back are probably the two positions urgently needing a refill. Although Ralston has impressed this season, he's the only natural right-back at the club and competition for places is important. One swallow doesn't make a summer and there's plenty more work for him to do on top of his encouraging start this season.

Croatia's Legia Warsaw right-back Josip Juranovic is close to completing a move to Celtic Park but Ange Postecoglou has reiterated it will be to challenge Ralston for the jersey, not rip it off his back.

Celtic Way: Starfelt misses the ball completely allowing AZ a golden chanceStarfelt misses the ball completely allowing AZ a golden chance

Starfelt isn't a teenager and hairy moments against AZ need to be cut out. Their clearest sight of goal stemmed from his attempted interception that became a stumble fresh-air swipe and although there's a degree of understanding about becoming used to a new club, style and surroundings, such goodwill is only going to last for so long.

He's a 26-year-old Swedish international, brought in from the superior Russian league for at least £4m.

If the opposition is targeting the side of defence he's playing on, with or without Ralston, it's a concern.