Champions League: Defeat in Astana is 'wake-up call' - James Forrest


In Astana, Celtic fell behind to a Kristoffer Ajer own goal but Scott Sinclair's strike restored the visitors' five-goal aggregate advantage and the added bonus of an away goal.

That looked to have snuffed out the hosts' belief but two goals in a minute at the start of the second half from attackers Serikzhan Muzhikov and Patrick Twumasi brought the home side back to life. Celtic's nerves were eased by goals in the 80th minute from Olivier Ntcham and Leigh Griffiths in the last minute of regulation time.

The Bhoys progressed through to the next round of Europe's elite competition following an 8-4 aggregate win over Kazakh side Astana in the final qualifying round.

"We had our Be'er Sheva moment".

"I prefer to win the game, we were not able to", the coach conceded.

"Then they scored with a deflection, which isn't great, then we got a goal back through Scotty, which was a great finish, then we got an earful from the manager telling us to keep the ball, make them run".

"I think what we would like to do is try to progress this year and be in European football after Christmas".

"We have gone through this qualification phase really well but we had to withstand that and we have seen it before, teams maybe crumbling away and all of a sudden you have a shock result".

We've got to say, we're quite disappointed that's not real.

Celtic finished bottom of a group topped by Barcelona last season, having also met the Catalans on Champions League duty in 2013, 2012, 2008 and 2004.

The first Champions League group matches take place on September 12 and September 13.

He said: "Our aim was firstly to qualify, it's a big achievement with the route we have to take and the games we have to play". It's paid off as our first objective was to get into the Champions League and we managed to do it, and we are delighted as a squad.

The draw for the eight groups, featuring 32 teams in all, begins live on Eurosport 1 at 5pm BST on Thursday at the Grimaldi Forum in the Principality.