HERE WE GO again. The Hoops host the Blaugrana in Glasgow and we’ll be right here with minute-by-minute updates of what could be another historic night for Neil Lennon’s Bhoys.
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19.17 – Come in out of that manky weather and join us for what could well be another ‘one of those special European nights’ at Celtic Park.
Anyone fancy some more of this?
YouTube credit: kkirschy23
19.19 – Before we trudge any deeper into tonight’s European action, here are your teams:
Celtic: Forster; Lustig, Ambrose, Van Dijk, Izaguirre; Matthews, Brown, Mulgrew, Samaras; Commons; Stokes.
Subs: Zaluska, Biton, Balde, Rogic, Pukki, Kayal, Forrest.
Barcelona: Valdes, Alves, Bartra, Pique, Adriano, Sergio, Xavi, Iniesta, Neymar, Fabregas, Pedro.
Subs: Pinto, Montoya, Dos Santos, Song, Sergi Roberto, Alexis Sanchez, Tello.
19.37 – Okay then, folks. It’s prediction time.
Can Tata succeed where Tito failed or will Neil Lennon be in Paradise again come full time?
19.41 – You’ll Never Walk Alone washes its way around Park Head and the half scarves are out in force.
19.46 – KICK-OFF: The Irish Independent’s Daniel McDonnell is in Glasgow to witness the kick-off and the cacophony of noise that surrounds it.
19.49 – Barca are doing what made them great, slowly backing Celtic backwards by holding onto possession around the box. The win a corner, but the hosts clear and embark on a break which ends when Commons crosses the half-way line.
19.50 – Another corner, this one after lovely play from Neymar and sublime nutmeg from Anders Iniesta before the sliding challenge came in to prevent his shot.
The corner is cleared again and Dani Alves volleys right back into the stands.
20.15 – To those of you who’ve said you’d do anything to be at Celtic Park tonight, be careful what you wish for.
19.52 – 5 mins: Half chance for Celtic: Stoke slips a through ball into the path of Samaras. The Greek reaches the pass near the by-line, left of goal yet he looked to have diverted a shot on target had it not been batted away for a corner.
19.58 – Putting on our cool pair of green shades for a sec, Tony Stokes is playing quite well.
Obviously, there is not much possession for Celtic to work with but on the few occasions he has had the ball, he has dropped into a deep area behind Samaras and was able to pick out a pass to his strike-partner.
20.02 – A brief moment of excitement for Celtic fans after Charlie Mulgrew swung a dangerous cross in towards the six-yard-box and the referee#s whistle blew. Alas, it was for a free out, not a penalty.
20.05 – Barca are dominant, no surprise there, but they are certainly allowing Celtic room to breath and counter. The problem for the hosts it getting enough bodies forward on the break to make the attacks count.
20.11 – The first real sign of Barca opening up Celtic comes after 22 minutes as Neymar runs through the centre. He’s outnumbered, but he tries to thread a ball into Fabregas’ run, but Izaguirre arrived with a timely interception.
Unfortunately, Forster’s clearing kick was low and allowed Neymar a second chance to pick a pass, this time a cross from the right. The ball just evaded the head if Pedro at full stretch.
20.18 – 32 mins: Still no piece of magic to break the deadlock in Glasgow, Celtic undergoing a little bit of a lull, but the visitors are struggling for rhythm too.
20.32 – HALF TIME: Celtic 0 – 0 Barcelona
20.31 – Just before half time and that’s the closest Barca have come. Xavi’s inswinging free-kick is not cleared fully by Forster and it flashes just past the waiting Pedro at the back post.
20.40 – If you like squiggly lines, this infographic (via @BarcaStuff) showing Barcelona’s passing patterns is just the thing to see you through the half-time break.
20.35 – All square after 45 minutes and the game is playing out pretty much as you’d expect with Barca in control and Celtic trying to make the most of high-tempo counter attacks.
21.03 – 60 mins: Celtic must survive 30 minutes (plus) with only 10 men now. Neymar is getting an extra loud booing, but I can’t see the Brazilian having any role in the red card at all. The referee was metres away and had his decision made as soon as Brown’s right foot moved out of his natural stride.
20.46 – Here’s what’s going on in tonight’s other games. To keep up to speed with the goals as they happen in other games, head on over to our scorecentre.
20.48 – You know what that haunting sing-song means, it’s the second half.
Can Celtic hold out, and even hit the killer rope-a-dope blow at the other end? Or will merciless pressure prevail?
20.54 – A really bright start to the second period for the hosts as Celtic return the favour and pin Barca into their own box for a spell of pressure. The pressure is relieved by a wild Scott Brown shot, but positive signs.
20.58 – Yellow Card: Cesc Fabregas is yellow carded despite the former Arsenal midfielder getting to the ball first and taking Stokes’ studs in his boot for the trouble.
That tackle for a loose ball came just after another attempted Neymar break was closed off. The ball broke nicely for Xavi to have a pot-shot, but Ambrose had is body in the way and the two ex-Gunners went chasing the 50-50 ball.
20.59 – Super play from Samaras, out-muscling Adriano before squaring a pass left to Commons. The cross is aimed at Stokers at the back post, but it doesn’t have enough pace to bypass Pique.
21.00 – Scott Brown sent off!
21.02 – A very, very harsh call against the Hoops midfielder. However, he did let his right boot flick out at Neymar on the floor right in front of the referee.
Harsh, but also stupid.
21.06 – Every decent bit of Celtic play is now being greeted by a guttural roar from the faithful in Glasgow. If Celtic hang on here, they’ll have the 12th (now 11th) man to thank.
21.17 – GOAL! Celtic 0 – 1 Barcelona (Fabregas ’76)
A real kick in the teeth for the home side, so soon after they could have taken their own lead Alexis Sanchez raids down the right hand side and chips in a cross.
Fabregas peeled off his marker and put a dead-weight header to the ball, sending it drifting into Forster’s left corner as he moved right.
21.09 – Classic Cillian Sheridan tweet coming up:
21.10 – All hands to the pump for Celtic. Neymar appeals for a penalty for handball (no chance), Fabregas strides into the right corner of the box and green and white kits fling themselves into the path of a potential shot.
Belief is a wonderful thing.
21.16 – CHANCE! Forrest is off the bench and almost on the scoresheet with a stunning left-foot volley that he chopped up for himself.
It draws a wonderful save.
From the corner, Mulgrew gets his head on the cross at the back post, but it’s narrowly wide.
21.28 – Folks, as you can no doubt see, the liveblog is having some issues getting all the in-game updates in the right order. We’re working on rectifying it now.
84 mins: Samaras breaks clear down the right, but once closed down he can only chip a hopeful effort to the back post. Without the numbers in support, Celtic might be best served playing out a commendable narrow defeat here. But pragmatism has no place in football.
21.30 – Double save! Amazing stuff from Forster. First he gets down past to knock a powerful Neymar effort way, but as Sanchez comes in for what looks like 2-0, he’s up in time to deny the striker. Brilliant agility.
21.34 – 90 mins
There will be four minutes added on here and the crowd roar their approval. Almost instantly, however a pass is deflected into Neymar’s path and he goes one-on-one with Forster, and it’s saved.
Barca soon break again, but somehow botch a three-on-one that ends in handball. It wouldn’t have happened in Rijkaard’s watch.
21.37 – FULL TIME: Celtic 0 – 1 Barcelona
Even down to 10 men, Celtic almost produce a grandstand finish. Samaras once more causing havoc on the left and his cross is mis-hit clear via the ankle of Pique. But there was no miracle for Neil Lennon tonight.
Instead, there will be recriminations and what-might-have-beens around Scott Brown’s red card just before the hour mark.
21.47 – Phew, now we’ve rehydrated and got our breath back there is just time to say; thanks a million for joining in the epic tragedy that was Celtic’s European tie tonight.
The loss leaves Celtic rooted to the bottom of Group H. AC Milan still sit second after claiming a draw away to Ajax.
Here’s the full-time results from around Europe.