Brendan Rodgers probably cannot get out of Kazhakstan soon enough after that performance by Celtic last night, I think by now we have learned the mantra “never assume anything in football” and yesterday afternoon it was nearly proved to be true as they lost to FC Astana
Celtic went into their Champions League Play-Off 2nd leg tie with Astana with a 5-0 lead in their pocket after an impressive victory last Wednesday at Celtic Park and it is one that they very nearly blew against the Kazakh champions.
A seven goal thriller which admittedly was very entertaining for the neutral but very tense watching if you were a Celtic fan, especially when the Scottish outfit were 4-1 down with 20 minutes to go. A vital away goal for Celtic just gave them enough breathing space but they looked absolutely shell shocked.
At this late stage of the game Astana needed three more goals to complete a comeback which would have been more stunning than that of the one that Barcelona carried out against PSG in the Champions League Quarter Finals last season.
Time was running out but they had scored three in quick succession once in the game, there is no reason why they could not do so again and dump Celtic out of the competition. Unfortunately the Astana miracle was not to be complete
Celtic finally found their footing late on and made the game something of a more respectable scoreline, two late goals for The Hoops. then made it 8-4 on aggregate and 4-3 Astana on the night. Those two goals did not really change anything in the grand scheme of things but would have certainly made things easier for the fans watching back home.
How Celtic nearly snatched despair from the jaws of qualification are beyond me but although Brendan Rodgers would have had some choice words for his players at the end of the game, he will be delighted that the skirmish has not caused any real damage. Celtic are now in the draw for the group stages.
Here are the highlights (UK)