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THE NIGHT CELTIC CAME SO CLOSE TO HISTORY

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CELTIC face Astana today in the knowledge no team has ever overcome a five-goal first leg deficit in Europe’s top flight.

However, the Hoops, with Gordon Strachan in charge, came within a whisker of achieving the feat on August 2, 2005.

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Following their remarkable 5-0 collapse to Artmedia in Bratislava in the opening Champions League qualifier, Martin O’Neill’s successor promised the tie was not over as a crowd of 50,063 watched the return at Parkhead.

Alan Thompson pulled one back via the penalty spot in the 20th minute and John Hartson netted a second on the stroke of half-time.

Stephen McManus headed in a cross from Shaun Maloney in the 54th minute and substitute Craig Beattie claimed a fourth eight minutes from time.

Strachan threw on striker Jeremie Aliadiare, who had just arrived on a season-long loan from Arsenal, and the French star missed a sitter right at the death when he was slow to react to a left-wing cross that zipped across goal.

The highly-rated youngster seemed transfixed at the far post as he barely moved when a tap-in would have taken the game to extra-time.

That was the last time the fans saw Aliadiare in a Celtic strip. The temporary contract was ripped up and he returned to Arsene Wenger’s outfit without even playing a full hour for the Hoops in two substitute appearances.

Strachan never explained why he had such a swift change of mind about the player’s ability.

For the record, the team that night was: Boruc; Telfer, Balde, McManus, Camara; Petrov, Lennon, Thompson (sub: Aliadiere 87), Wallace (sub: Maloney 53); Zurawski (sub: Beattie 63), Hartson.

NEW CQN PODCAST – PAUL DYKES PRESENTS WITH FORMER CELTIC CAPTAIN ANDY LYNCH AND SPECIAL GUEST PAT STANTON

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