CELTIC have led in European ties at AZ Alkmaar, Real Betis and Bayer Leverkusen this season – and contrived to lose all three.
An early strike from Kyogo Furuhashi in the Netherlands was wiped out by two efforts from the Dutch opponents – one an own goal from Carl Starfelt – before half-time, but Ange Postecoglou’s side held on to win 3-2 on aggregate to reach the Europa League group stages.
Albian Ajeti and Josip Juranovic, with a penalty-kick, had the Hoops two ahead in Seville in the opening match in the section, but Manuel Pellegrini’s outfit came back to lead 4-2 at one stage before Anthony Ralston nodded in to score a third, but, alas, there was to be no equaliser.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE KNOCK-OUT…Vasilis Barkas is beaten by Ferencvaros forward Tokmak Nguen for the second goal in the shock exit last season.
OOPS…Vasilis Barkas misjudges the flight of Evander’s free-kick for FC Midtjylland’s equaliser at Parkhead this season which played a massive part in another early Champions League departure.
After losing 4-0 to Jeremie Frimpong and his Bundesliga team-mates in Glasgow, Postecoglou’s men led 2-1 by the 56th minute in the away leg in Germany through a Juranovic spot-kick and a superb effort from Filipe Jota.
With just eight minutes to go, Robert Andrich, who had scored the opener in the 16th minute, made it 2-2 and, with the clock ticking down, Joe Hart was beaten again by Moussa Diaby to make the final score 3-2 for the home team.
In the previous campaign, strikes from Tom Rogic and Odsonne Edouard fired Neil Lennon’s team to a two-goal advantage in 14 minutes over AC Milan at the San Siro, but they still nosedived to a 4-2 defeat.
No-one should be surprised that a leaky defence has continually let the Parkhead side down. It’s been the story of the last two European campaigns where Celtic have posted some embarrassing statistics.
An amazing FORTY-SIX goals have been conceded in 22 encounters, 21 goals in nine games last year and 25 in 13 matches this time around.
CRESTFALLEN…Scott Bain looks shell-shocked after Sparta Prague’s fourth goal on their way to back-to-back 4-1 wins over Celtic last season.
SHOUT OF ORDER…Joe Hart yells in frustration during Celtic’s 4-3 loss to Real Betis in Seville in September last year.
After conceding three to Bodo/Glimt in a 3-1 reverse in their Europa Conference League play-off first leg in Glasgow last week, the Hoops will be hoping they can plug the alarming gaps at the back and get the goals that matter at the other end this evening to continue to make progress.
A clean sheet would go a long way to helping the cause.
Here are the scorelines from the past two European campaigns – if you are of a nervous disposition, CQN recommends you look away now.
KR Reykjavik 6-0
AC Milan (1-3 and 2-4)
Lille (2-2 and 3-2)
Sparta Prague (1-4 and 1-4)
FC Midtjylland (1-1 and 1-2)
FK Jablonec (4-2 and 3-0)
AZ Alkmaar (2-0 and 1-2)
Real Betis (3-4 and 3-2)
Bayer Leverkusen (0-4 and 2-3)
Ferencavros (2-0 and 3-2)
* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Bodo/Glimt v Celtic this evening – only in your champion CQN.