Celtic v Barcelona – as it happened

Scott Brown saw red and Cesc Fábregas scored the only goal of the game to leave Celtic bottom of Group H
• In pictures: the best images from Celtic Park

Right, that's it from me

Much of the post-match comment will be on the Brown decision. Lee Dixon reckons that the Celtic captain has "given the refee the opportunity to show him the red card", a phrase of punditese the meaing of which has always been entirely unclear to me. There's no argument in my view. It was a red, for all of Neymar's pathetic reaction.

Anyway, that's me. Stick around on site for more reaction than you could shake a fairly large stick at. Cheerio!

Here's Charlie Mulgrew:

"I can't get that header out of my mind – it was an unbelievable chance. I should've scored."


90+5 min: AndY Townsend still thinks that red card is harsh. He's still wrong.

90+4 min: Samaras sends a cross into the six-yard box. A Barcelona head meets the ball. And Milan have equalised from the penalty spot.

90+3 min: In the other game in the group Ajax have taken the lead against Milan. Which might not be the worst result in the world for Celtic.

90+1 min: … and Barcelona nearly score on the break. Again it is Sanchez is denied by a superb Forster save.

90 min: Four minutes of added time to play. Celic on the attack …

88 min: Honestly, that Forster double stop was, sound the cliche klaxon, Right Out Of The Top Drawer. Iniesta heads off to be replaced by Alex Song. The home fans giv the departing midfielder a nice warm round of applause. Good stuff.

87 min: TWO STUNNING SAVES FROM FORSTER! First from Neymar as he blasts in a shot from the edge of the box, then an even better effort as he gets down to block Sanchez on the rebound. Sensational stuff from the goalkeeper.

86 min: Izaguirre sends Bartra cartwheeling into the Glasgow sky with a ludicrously late challenge. A booking ensues.

85 min: Pass, pass, pass, passpasspasspass passpasspasspasspasspasspasspass …

84 min: "I read that goal description too fast," writes Mike Shepherd. "Was trying to imagine how Cesc Fabregas could gloat a header into the top corner. Which seems oddly appropriate actually."

83 min: Forrest pinches tha bll from Alves but then gives it away far too cheaply.

81 min: Neymar dinks in a cross. Forster clutches it.

80 min: Barcelona will kill this now. There may be 10 minutes left but you feel Celtic will only have the ball on perhaps three more occasions.

78 min: What a suckerpunch that was. One of those goals that gives you that strange lurching feeling like you're going over a humpback bridge in a Vauxhall Corsa.

77 min: Either side of that goal Busquets went into the book for clattering Kayal and Samaras was also shown yellow for a challenge on Busquets.

GOAL! Barcelona 1-0 Celtic (Fábregas 75)

A sickener for Celtic! Barça on the break. Neymar slips the ball into the substitute Sanchez. His cross picks out Fabregas at the back post, and his header back across goal floats into the top corner.


74 min: SO CLOSE! Withint the space of 30 seconds Celtic are twice so, so close to taking the lead. First Forrest is denied by a quite brilliant Valdes save as he chests the ball down in the box and catches a volley with sumptuous sweetness. And from the resultant corner Mulgrew heads a free header an inch wide from five yards.

72 min: "There's certainly no point in a subtle dig if Neymar's reaction is exactly the same as wellying him in the kidneys," writes Mike Cormack. Most impressive would be a welly in the kidneys followed by a reaction like it was a subtle dig.

71 min: Barcelona go through the gears in that special way in which by the end the passes blur into one. Alves, Iniesta, Fabregasneymarxavineymar … sliced wide.

69 min: Lennon looks to freshen things up. Lustig, on a yellow, is replaced by James Forrest. Stokes is replaced by Kayal.

68 min: Twice in quick succession Fabregas finds a yard of space in threatening positions. Desperate defending scuppers the first; from the second his cross finds Forster at the near post. This is going to be an exhausting spell of football for Neil Lennon's side.

66 min: Neymar ("BOOOOOO!") slings a cross in but it's charged down. Barça are now camped in the final 40 yards of the pitch. This will be the pattern for the next 30 minutes or so.

65 min: "The rules punish intent, not just consequence," writes Matt Dony. "A little kick out at Neymar's back is essentially the same as wellying him in the kidneys in the eyes of the man with the cards. So, what's the point in the subtle dig? If you're going to play dirty, play chuffing dirty!"

64 min: Neymar tumbles over Ambrose's challenge. The boos can't increase in intensity for the Brazilian after he had the temerity to be the target of Scott Brown's swinging boot (though in fairness the fans won't have seen the replays).

63 min: … Valdes has a flap but makes no contact and the ball plops away for a goal kick. In the stands, the volume has just gone up to 11.

62 min: Samaras wins a free-kick 40 yards from goal, as Busquets drags him down. A chance to send the big men forward …

61 min: Iniesta wangs a cross-field ball out of play.

60 min: Replays do suggest that Brown had a little swipe at Neymar with his boot. Idiotic in the extreme.

RED CARD! Scott Brown sent off!

59 min: The storm breaks and Neymar skitters away. There's a trip from behind by the Celtic captain – a booking – but the red card comes out! Did he have a little kick out? Seems exceptionally harsh on first viewing.

58 min: Samaras jinks, Commons whips in a cross, Pique flicks clear. Celtic have their dander up all of a sudden.

57 min: Stokes is a whisker away from latching on to Busquets' loose pass back towards Pique. Barcelona have been poor this half thus far.

55 min: Xavi spanks a long-range shot straight at a defender then moments later Fabregas goes into the book for having his ankle trodden on by Stokes.

54 min: Samaras hacks down Alves on halfway like Aragorn hewing down a twinkle-toed goblin.

52 min: Lustig sends a free-kick forward, Samaras knocks down to Stokes and Celtic have a player with the ball at his feet inside the Barca area for the first time since what feels like the Mesolithic period. Eventually the ball finds its way to Brown, who blasts his effort high and wide from the edge of the box.

50 min: Izaguirre catches Alves a glancing blow on the back. Alves folds faster than Superman on laundry day (©Jerry Seinfeld). He'll be fine.

48 min: Neymar looks to hop and pop his way into the box, but eventually gets crowded out by green and white shirts. Barcelona haven't been at their inspired best by any means, but oodles of credit has to go to the home side, who have been incredibly organised and disciplined without the ball.

47 min: Ambrose pinches the ball in midfield then rumbles forward, but he loses possession and has to hurry back into the back four.

46 min: And assume the position.

Peep! Off we go again. Celtic have 45 minutes to survive.

Half-time news

The game in Switzerland between Basle and Schalke has been delayed due to a Greenpeace protest:

Peep! The corner is cleared and that's that for the first half.

45 min: … Xavi curls it in, Forster flaps at it, essentially misses it, but gets a thin edge behind for a corner.

44 min: Lustig goes into the book for a wild lunge on Neymar. That'll be a problem for him second half. The free-kick, on the left edge of the box, is a problem for Celtic right now …

42 min: Iniesta surges into the box and looks for a quick give-and-go. He can't quite control Neymar's little flick and the ball trundles out of play. "Re footballers with wrestler's names on their shirts," begins Andy Pittman. "What about Robbie "Macho Man Randy" Savage?"

41 min: Fair point dept. "Why is there always so much analysis of possession and passing when Celtic play Barça, but not when other teams play Barça?" writes Declan Doherty. "This is like a NORMAL Barça match."

39 min: Virgil van Dijk has "Virgil" on the back of his shirt, surely the only footballer with the name of a WWF wrestler on his shoulders. Meanwhile, Alves sends in a cross with more whip than Indiana Jones – in the middle Neymar does brilliantly to wrap his foot around the ball, but just guides the thing wide. That might well have been the closest Barcelona have come to breaking the deadlock.

37 min: Lustig allows a straightforward pass in the direction of Matthews down the Celtic right slide out of play. A few moments later Matthews skews a cross out of play for a goal kick. Celtic aren't exactly getting close to the Barcelona goal, but they are keeping the visitors at arm's length at the moment.

36 min: Pass, pass, pass from Barcelona. More passes than a village idiot on mastermind. More passes than Ayrton Senna in the wet. More passes than … feel free to add your own. "William Peake may have a point about Samaras/Aragorn, but surely the better lookalike is with Freddy Mercury," writes Mike Cormack, who has a point.

34 min: Neymar goes down after a clash of heads with Izaguirre. "Not sure about the Samaras/Hateley as Aragorn debate," writes Owen Bagnall. "But surely Scott Brown would make a good orc?"

33 min: Opta tell me that Celtic attempted 43 passes in the opening 22 and a half minutes. In the same period Barça attempted 231.

31 min: Neymar peels out to the right and swings a low cross into the six-yard box. Ambrose, who has been excellent thus far, is in the right place at the right time again.

30 min: The burning issue: "Who would have made a better Aragorn?" writes William Peake. "Mark Hateley or George Samaras, discuss."

28 min: Iniesta lofts a cross in towards Xavi but it drifts over his midfield partner's head.

27 min: Iniesta finds a pocket of space 35 yards from goal and looks to slip in Neymar. Ambrose's go-go-gadget legs just manage to cut out the pass.

26 min: Neymar's first-time dink over the full-back gets Adriano away. Ambrose puts him under just enough pressure and the shot flumps into the side netting from an acute angle.

24 min: Referee Lannoy has a quick word with Neymar who flopped like an overcooked piece of asparagus during that last Barcelona attack.

23 min: Neymar skitters inside, his pass is loose, but Forster's clearing kick is a shocker. That leaves the defence in scrambling mode for the first time in a while.

22 min: Celtic's two banks of four are separated by about five yards on the edge of the area. Tough to break down if they stay this disciplined and organised.

20 min: This is the only goal-less Guardian MBM. For spoiler-alert purposes I won't mention the other scores but you can follow the net-rippling elsewhere here and here.

19 min: Iniesta drops a shoulder to wrong-foot Mulgrew. Sublime. Then spanks his shot yards over the bar. Somewhat less sublime.

18 min: "Looks like it will be a Barcelona ploy to to have defenders go down in the box whenever Celtic have a corner or free kick," writes Mike Cormack. "Crafty, given that these will be Celtic's best chances of scoring." So hard to tell and the replays are pretty inconclusive, but Celtic do probably need to adopt a hand-off approach in the box.

17 min: An Alves pull-back finds Fabregas in the box, but his first-time effort hits a defender's legs. Seconds later Neymar scuffs a weak shot a couple of yards wide.

16 min: The possession stats show that Barcelona have had rather more of the ball. Who knew?

15 min: … it's swung in with a decent amount of venom – not quite King Cobra, more persistant jellyfish – but again a Celtic forward is penalised by the referee. That's two useful set pieces wasted by infringements.

14 min: Samaras wins himself a free-kick over on the left touchline. Dangerous this …

13 min: The corner is cleared – Neil Lennon will be beyond apoplectic if they concede from a set-piece tonight – and a Fábregas scuttle ends with the ball in Forster's hands.

12 min: Another long sweeping ball this time finds Neymar on the left. They are clearly looking to isolate Lustig against the Brazilian. The Swedish international is equal to it, though, and concedes nothing more than a corner as the Barça man jinks into the box.

10 min: An errant long ball from Xavi (of all people! ©Clive Tydlesley) is nodded back to Forster by Van Dijk.

8 min: "Barcelona in their home kit?" writes an incredulous Mark Hammond. "You may want to adjust your TV settings." Indeed – they are in all black.

7 min: Samaras gets a yard of space down the Celtic left and looks to wriggle out of the corner. Two Barcelona defenders scurry after him, pin him in, nab the ball, then scuttle away like they've pinched his pocket money.

6 min: It has been a furious start. Samaras wins the home side a corner, but the referee adjudges that Stokes has dragged down a Barça defender.

5 min: The set piece is swung in, nodded to the edge of the box, then belted over the bar by (I think) Pedro.

4 min: Neymar skitters down the left and plays the ball into Iniesta. He nutmegs Ambrose (hopefully while shouting whatever the Catalan is for "Megs!") but Van Dijk slides in to concede a corner.

3 min: … swung in by Iniesia, nodded away with authority by Van Dijk. And Celtic look to break, but Commons's pass is only in the general direction of Samaras – nothing like precise enough and Barcelona have it back.

2 min: Still waiting for a first Celtic touch as Barça work the ball around the edge of the box. At 1min 45sec, Alves puts a pass into the shins of Izaguirre. But Barcelona have won themselves a corner …

1 min: Barcelona stroke the ball backwards. The terraces whistle furiously.

Peep! Off we go. Barcelona, in their home kit, kick off.



There's an atmosphere at the ground so electric you could power a small town with it. You'll Never Walk Alone booms around Celtic Park. The players are listening in the tunnel. And out they come …

Tonight's gallery

This gallery of images from Parkhead only has one image in it at the moment, but it will be added to in running by our mysterious picture guru Johnny Weeks so keep an eye on it during the game.

Before we get too serious …

… here are the Thai Tims to spread the love:

Georgios Samaras


The teams are in

Celtic: Forster, Lustig, van Dijk, Ambrose, Izaguirre, Matthews, Brown, Mulgrew, Samaras, Commons, Stokes. Subs: Zaluska, Biton, Balde, Rogic, Pukki, Kayal, Forrest.
Barcelona: Valdes, Dani Alves, Pique, Bartra, Adriano, Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta, Fabregas, Pedro, Neymar. Subs: Pinto, Montoya, Alexis, Jonathan, Song, Tello, Sergi Roberto.
Referee: Stephane Lannoy (France)

So it looks like Charlie Mulgrew will continue in central midfield for the Scottish side, while Cesc Fábregas joins Barcelona's front three.


Evening all. Are you well? Good, good. Me? I'm fine. Back's not that great, the left knee has got some sort of issue whenever I crouch and the hair continues to ebb away like a hairy ocean at low tide. But other than that, can't complain.

And who would want to complain when faced with the prospect of this tie, a clash so juicy it should come served with a portion of pommes frites and a sauce béarnaise. For Celtic it's a Brucy Bonus kind of a night. It's a footballing Super Catchphrase or Bully's prize board. Defeat is entirely probably so anything other than a reverse will be cherished. For Barcelona it's a chance to show the world how they cope without Leo Messi and take a decisive stride towards the group stages.

For a rigorous breakdown of tonight's tie at Celtic Park you'd do well to take a gander at Ewan Murray's webchat from this afternoon – it's full of proper insight and knowledge (in contrast to what you're likely to get from me).


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