"Fernandão was very motivated," Nani told UEFA.com after the Brazilian substitute aided Fenerbahçe to a 2-2 draw at Celtic, though Kieran Tierney is still hopeful
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Sometimes a coach stumbles across a solution almost by accident and so it proved for Fenerbahçe's Vítor Pereira as half-time approached at Celtic on Thursday.
With Celtic leading through strikes from Leigh Griffiths and Kris Commons, the situation looked ominous for Fenerbahçe when Volkan Şen was forced off with an injury. However, his replacement Fernandão made an immediate impact, reading a 43rd-minute back-header from Efe Ambrose to halve the deficit. The Brazilian forward promptly continued where he left off three minutes after the break, heading his side to a 2-2 draw from a Nani corner.
As game changers go, it turned out to be an inspired substitution as Fernandão's team-mates were quick to acknowledge.
"Fernandão was very motivated when he came off the bench," winger Nani told UEFA.com. "He showed that in his very first challenge. He's a strong player and he gave us another option with high balls into their box. His first goal was like that. He fought with a defender, won the second ball and scored.
"His desire to win the header for the second goal was clear for all to see. It's a very important point away to a very good team, so with a draw in the other game [Molde 1-1 Ajax] we can see that everything is open and now we have a chance to start winning more games."
For Kieran Tierney, it was a memorable night for other reasons as the 18-year-old was pitched in for his European debut against Nani, Robin van Persie and company. The left-back, with only four previous appearances for the Hoops, was told just hours before kick-off that he was starting for the suspended Emilio Izaguirre. What ensued was "a dream come true", representing his boyhood favourites on the continental stage.
Tierney said: "I didn't know what to feel when the manager told me I was playing. I was excited and nervous at the same time but every time I start a game I'm excited to play and want to prove why I should be on the pitch. When you come up against the likes of Nani, that's why you work hard so you can play in these games.
"The manager was very happy with me. He shook my hand and said I had done really well, so I'm happy with that. To play for the team I support on a European night is a dream come true. A draw in the other game is not the worst result for us either, so we've got a double-header against Molde now and we need to try and get as many points as we can."