Celtic turned in a mature away European performance this evening as the subjugated Qarabag in the heat of Baku. Chances were at a premium for both teams. Qarabag were reduced to hopeful shots from outside the box, while Celtic took an hour to fire their first real effort, but had the best two chances of the game.
Celtic were nervous looking in the opening 15 minutes, as they struggled to retain possession, allowing Qarabag ample opportunity to build attacks. Midway through the first half Craig Gordon attempted to punch with his left hand but missed and, fortunately, the ball hit his right hand and fell to safety.
29 minutes in Qarabag’s best player, Almeida de Oliveira forced a save from Gordon from outside the box but although the Celtic keeper had to stretch to reach it, it was a save he would have expected to make. A minute from the break Nir Bitton attempted an audacious chip from the halfway line which the keeper backtracked to stop.
10 minutes after the break El Jadeyaoui had the first attempt of the game which was made inside the box but Gordon saved easily. Then Gary Mackay-Steven drove across field before passing to Stuart Armstrong, who took a step inside the box before shooting over the bar.
On 66 minutes Qarabag found a man in space inside the box for the first time but by the time El Jadeyaoui took a touch Dedryck Boyata was on hand to block.
Seven minutes from the end Stefan Johansen made his trademark lung-busting run into the box to assist Armstrong but Stefan was a tad ahead of the pass and ended up shooting wide while stretching back.
James Forrest had the best chance of the game four minutes from time. He ran at the Qarabag defence from 40 yards out, rode one challenge, and found himself clean through with the keeper to beat but instead of shooting from 12 yards he tried to square to Griffiths (who was never going to get the ball) and the chance was missed.