Celtic’s 6 Best Champions League Nights

The group stages of the Champions League will be returning to Celtic Park after Celtic came out on top 8-4 on aggregate against Astana in the final round of qualifying.

The Bhoys have been involved in some classic European fixtures throughout the years, with the Lisbon Lions’ European Cup win in 1967 top of the pile.

But what about during the Champions League era? We’ve had a look at six matches that will live long in the memory of Bhoys fans.

Celtic 2 Barcelona 1

Date: November 7 2012

Arguably one of the greatest ever European nights at Celtic Park, goals from Victor Wanyama and Tony Watt defeating one of the best sides of all time, Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona.

The home side took the lead after 21 minutes when Wanyama headed past Víctor Valdés.

Guardiola’s side were previously unbeaten that season, but Watt came off the bench to guarantee Celtic win in the closing minutes.

Lionel Messi tapped home in injury time, but the Hoops held on.

It was a momentous victory for manager Neil Lennon, who was part of the team that knocked Barça out of the Uefa Cup in 2004, and helped banishing memories of the injury-time defeat in Barcelona a fortnight earlier.

Celtic Park was rocking as the team that were twice champions of Europe in the previous four years came to town, and the atmosphere certainly left a mark on Messi.

“The games against Celtic were special and I want to remember them,” he said.

“Celtic Park is a tough place to go to. It’s never easy to get a result there.

“We know we would get a tough game if we drew them in the Champions League, but everybody involved in those Barcelona v Celtic games wants to go and play there again.

“It is the best atmosphere in Europe.”

Celtic 2 AC Milan 1

Date: October 3 2007

While Barcelona may have been one of the best teams ever, claiming the scalp of the then-European champions AC Milan wasn’t a bad night at Celtic Park either.

Scott McDonald’s late winner gave Gordon Strachan’s men victory.

A torrential Glasgow downpour made life difficult for both sides and the start of the game was littered with stray passes and clumsy challenges.

But captain Stephen McManus forced the ball into the net from a corner kick to give the Bhoys the lead after an hour, before Milan levelled with a Kaká penalty.

Celtic snatched victory when Dida failed to hold a Gary Caldwell shot and McDonald netted from close range.

The match was marred by an incident with Dida and a Celtic fan. He was carried off on a stretcher after a fan ran on to the park to confront him.

The fan only appeared to slap him though, despite his dramatic collapse near the end of the game – the incident led to Dida receiving a two-match ban and the Glaswegians getting a £25,000 fine.

Celtic 1 Manchester United 0

Date: November 21 2006

Celtic reached the knockout phase of the Champions League for the first time thanks to a win against Manchester United.

The cagey affair was lit up after 80 minutes thanks to a fantastic 30-yard Shunsuke Nakamura free kick.

United striker Louis Saha twice wasted chances to level late on, first assuming he was offside, dithering and letting Artur Boruć block his attempt.

The Frenchman then saw the Bhoys keeper save his penalty after Shaun Maloney had handled a Cristiano Ronaldo free-kick.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s side had dominated, with 11 shots to seven and seven corners to one, but a Strachan defensive masterclass, and a little bit of luck, saw Celtic come out on top.

Celtic 4 Juventus 3

Date: October 31 2001

An exciting victory over Italian giants Juventus will live long in the memory, and not just because of the questionable outfits in the crowd with it being Halloween.

Juve took the lead through Alessandro del Piero before Joos Valgaeren and Chris Sutton put the hosts ahead at half-time.

The Italian side equalised after the break through substitute David Trezeguet.

Henrik Larsson’s penalty after Mark Iuliano fouled Sutton at a corner restored's Celtic advantage, 3-2.

Sutton drove home from 16 yards after he connected with a deflected Lubo Moravčík free kick to give Celtic breathing spae before Trezeguet pulled one back for the Italians.

The was not enough to prevent Martin O’Neill’s men missing out on qualification for the knockout rounds after their first venture in the competition's group stages though, due to Porto‘s 1-0 victory over Rosenborg.

Celtic 3 Shakhter Karagandy 0

Date: August 28 2013

Facing Shakhter Karagandy may not be the most glamorous of ties, but it was still a vintage European night at Parkhead.

With Celtic facing a 2-0 deficit after the first leg in Kazakhstan, there was a lot of pressure on them as they looked to qualify for the group stage.

It took until first-half stoppage time for Celtic to reduce the 2-0 first-leg deficit through a superb long-range strike from Kris Commons. Georgios Samaras then levelled the tie three minutes after the break.

Both sides struck the crossbar before Anthony Stokes set up James Forrest in injury time, who fired in off the underside of the bar.

It felt like a hugely important night at the time.

“That was the greatest thing I've ever done in football,” said boss Lennon. “The last three months were in preparation for this.

“We lost three very important players [Wanyama, Gary Hooper and Kelvin Wilson] and it has been difficult to replace them.

“Coming from 2-0 down tonight just makes the players all the more remarkable. They were wonderful, absolutely wonderful.”

Spartak Moscow 2 Celtic 3

Date: October 2 2012

Of course, while many of Celtic’s best games in the Champions League have come at Parkhead, there are also away games that will stick in the memory too.

It took 19 attempts, but they finally won away in the group stages of the Champions League thanks to an injury-time goal from Samaras.

Hooper had the visitors in front after 12 minutes, before Emmanuel Emenike’s brace put Spartak Moscow 2-1 up.

After Juan Insaurralde was sent off for a professional foul on hooper, Dmitri Kombarov’s own goal levelled the tie, before Samaras headed home Emilio Izaguirre’s cross as the game was drawing to a close.

The result led Lennon to call himself ‘the proudest man in Europe’.

Celtic's 6 Best Champions League Nights