35 min “That goal,” says Brendan in Spain, “really tied the room together.”
That’s just, like, your opinion, man.
34 min Astana should have equalised there. In fact, Postnikov should have equalised his own goal. He had a freeish header, six yards from goal from a left-wing corner, and thumped it just wide of the near post. It came off the side of his head I think.
I take it back, it’s an own goal. Rogic slithered superbly through the defence on the right of the box and dinked the ball over the advancing keeper with his right foot. It was spinning wide of the far post, but the stretching Postnikov – who was trying to clear a shot he thought was going in – put it into his own net.
GOAL! Celtic 1-0 Astana (Postnikov own goal 32)
This is a fine goal from Tom Rogic!
31 min “Speaking of fake news as you almost were,” says Ian Copestake, “all this talk of alt-right and alt-left seems utterly based in twaddle, as nothing happens when I press them on my keyboard.”
I blame alt-J. For everything, but primarily for the fact I can never lick a crisp packet again.
30 min Tierney’s dipping cross is headed behind for a corner. It’s played short, tossed deep, and headed behind by Lustig. Bah.
30 min Forrest looks sharp for Celtic, the biggest attacking plus for them. Sinclair has been quiet, as has Griffiths, with Rogic good in patches.
28 min “I’m Diego from Guatemala, a big fan of the Guardian and vivid Celtic supporter,” says Diego Ortiz, challening Brendan for the Unique Sentence of the Night award. “Do you think we have a shot of qualifying to the CL Group Stage and making a good run? Or do we have more chance in Europa League and maybe think of winning it?”
I’m not sure about winning the Europa League, but with a fair wind they could go to the later stages. In the Champions League, they’d do extremely well to get out of the group stages. But they’ll get more money and the players will learn more. If it was me I’d quite fancy the Europa League.
26 min Celtic are pretty fortunate that Shitov’s deep cross from the right goes just over the head of the unmarked Kabananga, allowing Lustig to head behind for a corner.
25 min “Evening Señor,” says Jim Crane. “The Standing Section (pleasingly) is priced as standard – but perhaps unsurprisingly all spaces are sold out via Season Tickets. I understand the emotion attached to the issue with some supporters, but having stood there a couple of times I would say that it’s not only a safe experience but also a fantastic addition to the matchday experience (Christ, I sound like Richard Scudamore).”
It sells Michelin-star food as well, right?
24 min That shows what I know: according to the stats, Celtic have had 63 per cent possession. FAKE STATS.
23 min The crowd are somewhere between restless and nervous. Astana have dominated possession and are playing with a striking confidence.
22 min Muzhikov strikes a bouncing, wobbling shot from 25 yards that is excellently held by Gordon. It was straight at him but the movement – both sideways and up and down – made it a very awkward ball to hold.
21 min Twumasi cuts inside Tierney 25 yards from goal and whacks the bouncing ball well wide of the near post. The two wingers, Twuamsi and Tomaso, look dangerous.
21 min Brown is a little fortunate to avoid a yellow card for a foul on Twumasi.
19 min “Evening Rob,” says Simon McMahon. “Always nice to see Scottish teams doing well in Europe, especially seeing as Celtic have a healthy number of Scots in their starting eleven. Though it’s not exactly McAlpine, Stark, Malpas, Gough, Hegarty, Narey, Bannon, Milne, Kirkwood, Sturrock and Dodds, is it?”
That’s just asking for the finger.
17 min Astana have been the better team in general play, yet Celtic have had those two excellent opportunities. It’s a really interesting game.
15 min Ntcham sprays a nice pass wide to Tierney, who takes it well on his chest and swings in a good cross that is headed away by Postnikov. Or Logvinenko. I haven’t a clue, to be honest, I’m just assuming it was a centre-half.
14 min “Prowling like a demented animal in a zoo clicking refresh on my phone the way they would if they had fancy phones,” says an unnamed correspondent. “I now have to go to the pub. Impossible to get the BBC Scotland radio coverage over my network to my phone and I have no blinking wifi (relationships ending have incalculable consequences). C’mon you Hoops!”
I like that you have to go to the pub.
13 min The elegant left winger Tomasov, a former Croatia international, looks a threat. Astana are a decent side, though that won’t come as a surprise to Celtic after last year.
9 min “The issue with Griffiths there,” says Brendan in Spain, “was he has far too much hair.” Larry David would have buried it.
8 min What a chance for Griffiths! Forrest, found by Rogic, curls an excellent first-time cross towards the six-yard line. Griffiths gets ahead of his man, hangs in the air – and heads it just wide of the near post. Brendan Rodgers had his arm up in celebration as it came off Griffiths’ head.
6 min Postnikov is booked for unapologetically taking out Rogic near the halfway line. Celtic had a break on so it was a a sensible piece of cynicism.
5 min Astana have started confidently in possession, with Tomasov beating Lustig easily on the left before flashing a cross that is headed clear by Simunovic.
4 min Forrest runs at Shomko down the right and wins a free-kick. Griffiths swings a lovely inswinging ball that bounces off Maevski on the six-yard line. It falls slightly behind Sinclair, who slices an instinctive snapshot wide of the far post. That was a chance.
2 min Here’s Ian Copestake. “Regarding the onset of entitlement and Scotland’s possible status as a Lost World, preserved from vulgar things like cash and evolution, do tickets for safe-standing seats cost an and arm and a leg, or is this a way for the wee man to sneak back into footer?”
Good question. I don’t know. What do you think this is, a national newspaper? Anyone know how much they cost?
1 min Peep peep! Astana, in yellow, kick off from right to left. Celtic are in the hoops.
The players emerge from the tunnel to a familiar din. This is some atmosphere. And they haven’t even played the Champions League music yet!
The defenestration of impartiality
Come on Celtic!
An email “I am an Australian following Celtic with great interest from Santiago de Compostela in Spain,” writes Brendan, winning the prize for ‘Unique Sentence of the Night’ before a ball has been kicked. “Looking forward to your updates!”
Is anyone reading this who lives in Orkney and has an interest in a regular game of five-a-side?
Celtic (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Lustig, Simunovic, Bitton, Tierney; Brown, Ntcham; Forrest, Rogic, Sinclair; Griffiths.
Substitutes: Armstrong, de Vries, Benyu, Ajer, McGregor, Ralston, Miller.
Astana (4-2-3-1) Mokin; Shitov, Postnikov, Logvinenko, Shomko; Maevski, Kleinheisler; Twumasi, Muzhikov, Tomasov; Kabananga.
Substitutes: Eric, Anicic, Grahovac, Beysebekov, Tagybergen, Maliy, Murtazayev.
Referee Ovidiu Hategan.
Good evening. With the possible exception of u, nothing compares to European nights in Scotland. The atmospheres are like something from the 1980s, cacophonous and entitlement-free. It’ll certainly be an ear-splitter at Celtic Park tonight, as Celtic try to take out the Kazakhstan champions Astana for the second year running.
Celtic needed an injury-time penalty to win the third qualifying round match between the sides a year ago, and that was with home advantage in the second leg. Astana, in the best traditions of crack eastern European teams (sic), are formidable at home and a bit useless away, so Celtic will want a decent win tonight: 4-2, 3-1, 2-0 and 1-0 would all be acceptable.
Astana are a new club, who were only founded in 2009. Eight years old, dude. In that time they have been champions for the last three seasons and are on course for four in a row. Celtic can see that achievement and raise it. After two games of the SPL season, they are 1/18 to win a seventh consecutive title.
They would never say as much, but domestic football has become a formality for Celtic. That’s why European progress is so important. They did pretty well in a very tough group last year, drawing twice with Manchester City and also in Monchengladbach; we won’t dwell on the 7-0 doing in Barcelona.
Defeat to Astana wouldn’t be the end of the world for Celtic, or even their European season. The losers of this tie will be parachuted into the Europa League, and there is an argument that this might be better for Celtic as it would give them a greater chance of a significant achievement. That view is not, however, likely to prevail at Celtic Park tonight.
Kick off is at 7.45pm.