After beating Barcelona at Celtic Park it would be a massive disappointment if Celtic failed to qualify from this group. Everything looks to be in their favour tonight as they host a Spartak Moscow side already with absolutely nothing to play for. Not even a Europa League place, so less than nothing.
If Neil Lennon’s men get a better result against the Russians than Benfica do against Barcelona in the Camp Nou, the Hoops will progress to the knock-out stages. The odds are staked in their favour with Messi and co expected to do a number on Benfica. The odds guarantee nothing though and if Celtic play the same way they did against Benfica in their last game then heart-break is on the menu. If you’ve got em, cross em.
I’ll also keep an eye on the action at Stamford Bridge where Rafa Benitez is already fighting for his job. Chelsea can still progress but they need help from Shakhtar Donetsk but don’t be surprised if the Ukrainian’s play out a convenient draw with Juventus.
Final Score: Celtic 2 – 1 Spartak Moscow
21.46: A fantastic win for Celtic who fully deserve to progress. They’ll be underdogs from here on out but we’ve seen stranger things on the European stage. Time to dream for Celtic fans. Also I’m not sure how scientific this is but I think the Hoops are now technically better than Manchester City and Chelsea. Chew on that one. I’m out of here
21.41: Elsewhere tonight Chelsea win 6-1 but go out after Juventus win 1-0 in Donetsk. Man United lose 1-0 at home to Cluj but top the group as they knew they would two games ago.
21.39: After a much improved second-half performance and some good penalty winning from Samaras, Celtic get the win that they need to progress through to the final 16 of this season’s Champions League.
21.37: FULL-TIME AND CELTIC ARE THROUGH!!
21.36: Samaras does brilliantly taking the ball forward and winning a free-kick deep in Spartak territory. It has finished 0-0 in Barcelona. So close!
21.34: Celtic are finishing the game on the attack. They’ve been far the better side in the second half. Still no goals at the Camp Nou.
21.32: Both sides are down to ten men as Kris Commons goes off injured. We’ll have five minutes of extra-time.
21.29: RED CARD! Kim Kallstrom is off after receiving a second yellow for a foul on Commons. He catches him in the unmentionables and poor Commons is in need of the stretcher. Ouch.
21.27: Joe Ledley is on for Scott Brown. Celtic are going through but Benfica only need one goal to change that.
21.25: That could be seen as a penalty won by Samaras. There is contact but he goes down a little easy.
21.23: GOAL!! Kris Commons puts Celtic 2-1 up and as things stand, through to the knock-out stages.
21.23: PENALTY TO CELTIC!
21.20: Chelsea are going to town on Nordsjaelland as Oscar makes it 6-1. Will the Chelsea fans hate Rafa a little less tonight?
21.19: CLOSE!!! Mulgrew gets his head to a Commons corner but Pesiakov pulls off a fantastic save.
21.15: Neil Lennon brings on Lassed for Kayal. A striker for a midfielder, a good positive decision from the Celtic manager.
21.14: Ambrose gets his head to a Commons corner but can only find the side netting. Qualification is still in Celtic’s hands but they have to score the next goal.
21.12: Adam Matthews is on for the injured Lustig.
21.11: Gary Hooper chases down Pesiakov and wins Celtic a corner. Good effort from the young striker.
21.11: Mata puts Chelsea 5-1 up.
Match Betting: Celtic 13/8, Draw 10/11, Spartak 9/2
21.06: Chelsea are now 4-1 after Torres scores his second of the game. Alas for Blues fans Juventus are winning 1-0 so they’re still Europa League bound. Man United are losing 1-0 at home to Cluj. The topped the group after four games so it’s little more than a highlight for the Cluj players.
21.04: Jurado has a good shot from distance but Forster gets across to make the save.
21.03: Aiden McGeady comes on for Ari. He wouldn’t, would he?
21.01: Commons puts a dangerous low cross in to the box from out wide but Spartak clear. Celtic are going for the win but they still look vulnerable at the back.
21.00: At Stamford Bridge Gary Cahill has restored Chelsea’s two goal lead. They’re still waiting on Shakhtar to do them a favour.
20.58: Celtic move the ball around well but Hooper’s header doesn’t trouble Pesiakov. McGeady is getting ready to come on for Spartak at in the Camp Nou Messi is about to come on. That has to be good news for Celtic.
20.54: Lustig receives the second yellow card of the game for a late challenge on Kallstrom.
20.53: Great ball in from Lustig, Samaras meets it well but the ball smashes off the near post.
20.52: Celtic have started the second half well but they need to be a little sharper with their final ball. At Stamford Bridge Nordsjaelland have scored to make it 2-1.
20.50: Some good interplay between Hooper and Brown but the Celtic skipper doesn’t get enough on his shot. Good build-up play.
20.47: Spartak get the second half underway.
To Score the 3rd Goal: Celtic 10/11, Benfica 15/8, No 3rd Goal 11/4
20.31: HALF-TIME. The right result after a well contested but untidy first half. Spartak look a threat going forward and if the nerves start to effect the Celtic players they may be the ones to back. With Barcelona and Benfica still 0-0 it’s Europa League football for Celtic as things stand. At Stamford Bridge a half which saw three penalties awarded but only one scored ends with Chelsea leading 2-0 after a late Torres strike.
Match Betting: Celtic 7/5, Draw 6/4, Spartak Moscow 11/4
20.26: At Stamford Bridge Chelsea are awarded another penalty. This time David Luiz slots it homeh. Unsurprisingly Juventus and Shakhtar is conveniently still 0-0.
20.25: The excellent Emineke sets Ari up and his lovely dink over Foster brings the visitors level. They’ve been a threat all night.
20.24: GOAL!! Spartak equalise through Ari.
20.23: At Stamford Bridge Chelsea win a penalty. And then Chelsea promptly miss a penalty by way of one Eden Hazard tapping the ball lamely at the keeper.
20.20: A quick break from Celtic, Lustig plays the ball in to Brown in the box but he’s unable to get enough pace on his shot to really trouble the keeper. Good play from the home side.
20.18: Bayern Munich’s Mario Gomez has the only other goal in what has been a slow night of Champions League action so far.
20.17: A Celtic corner comes back out to Kris Commons whose volley goes close but wide. It looks like it should have been another corner.
20.14: It’s looking good for Celtic at the moment but they’re far from dominating this game. Things could turn around very quickly. It almost does just thar as Emineke does Wilson for pace but can’t get a clean shot away, winning a corner.
To Score 2nd Goal: Celtic – 5/6, Spartak Moscow – 7/5, No 2nd Goal – 5/2
20.07: Emineke continues to be a threat, he beats Ambrose only to blaze his shot well over.
20.06: GOAL!!! Hooper jumps on a mistake from the Spartak backline and smashes the ball past Pesiakov to put Celtic 1-0 up.
20.03: Wilson a little lucky not to give away a free-kick against Emineke, who continues to trouble the Celtic backline. Mikael Lustig goes down the other end to win a corner for Celtic.
20.01: Spartak move the ball well and Kim Kallstrom gets a shot away from outside the box. He goes close but he could have done better considering the time he had. Emineke has a shot from out wide. It’s well over but he’s looking a real threat so far,
19.59: At Stamford Bridge Ashley Cole and Fernando Torres have gone close. It’s looking like a matter of time before Chelsea score.
19.56: Emineke gets on the end of a quality cross but it’s slightly behind him and he fails to lay it off or get a shot away. Celtic looked wide open at the back there.
19.54: Charlie Mulgrew puts a good ball into the Spartak box but it’s well cleared. His set-pieces could be invaluable tonight.
19.49: No openings for either side so far but Celtic have started better than they did against Benfica. Which wouldn’t have been hard. Samaras wins another free-kick after being kicked from behind. It comes to nothing.
19.44: We go through the final hand-shaking and flag-swapping formalities. I’m climbing down off the fence and getting right behind Celtic tonight. Come on you Bhoys!
19.36: Barcelona’s line-up is looking a little on the weak side with Messi starting on the bench. Let’s hope the players picked will be going out to prove a point to the manager.
19.32: Aiden McGeady starts on the bench for the visitors in his first appearance at Celtic Park since leaving for Russia. Wanyama is a big loss for Celtic but the return of Kayal and Brown should make up for it, presuming they’re both fully fit and match sharp.
Celtic: Forster, Lustig, Wilson, Ambrose, Izaguirre, Mulgrew, Brown, Kayal, Commons, Samaras, Hooper
Spartak Moscow: Pesiakov, Kirill Kombarov, Insaurralde, Suchy, Dmitri Kombarov, Rafael Carioca, Kallstrom, Jurado, Dzjuba, Ari, Emenike.