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LEGEND INSISTS IT COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE

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CELTIC goalkeeping legend Pat Bonner reckons the calamity against Cluj could have been even WORSE as his old club nosedived out of the Champions League at a shell-shocked Parkhead last night.

Amazingly, the Romanians came back twice in front of stunned Hoops fans to claim a 4-3 triumph in the east end of Glasgow to dump Neil Lennon’s men into the Europa League as Dan Petrescu’s outfit booked a play-off spot against Slavia Prague on a 5-4 aggregate.

Republic of Ireland icon Bonner must have known how Scott Bain and his team-mates felt at the defeat – he conceded four goals to Partizan Belgrade in 1989 when Billy McNeill’s side won 5-4, but toppled into Euro oblivion on the away goal rule after losing 2-1 in the first game.

The ex-shotstopper, speaking to BBC Sport, said: “If Cluj were a really good team, they would have taken another couple of goals off Celtic on the counter-attack.

“They were an average team that played above themselves. They were brilliant.

“That defensive structure wasn’t there for Celtic. I’m really disappointed for them because there are a lot of good, young, creative players in there who played very well at times.

“They’re knocked out of another competition that they should be performing in.”

The Hoops failed to negotiate their way around mediocre opponents for the second consecutive season after the misery of the previous campaign when they crashed 3-2 on aggregate to AEK Athens.

They now await the winners of Moldova’s Sheriff and Sweden’s AIK tomorrow night to discover their opponents. The Swedes lead 2-1 from the first leg.

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