Good evening European football fans. The Champions League
last 16 begins tonight with an intriguing match between a rejuvenated Celtic and Serie A holders Juventus
in Glasgow. The Bhoys are back in the knockout stages for the first time in four seasons but face a Juve side on top form at Celtic Park tonight.
Celtic stunned their critics to qualify for the last 16 in a group including Benfica, Barcelona and Spartak Moscow. Neil Lennon
's side produced the shock of this season's group stage to beat Barca at Celtic Park thanks to goals from Victor Wanyama
and Tony Watt.
Juve arrive in Glasgow on the back of a strong run of league form which sees them top Serie A by five points. Antonio Conte
's side warmed up for Celtic by claiming a dominant 2-0 win
over Fiorentina last weekend.
The Hoops have been sweating on the availability of two key players ahead of tonight's European match. Central defender Efe Ambrose has raced back from Africa Cup of Nations duty to be considered while Georgios Samaras
is doubtful with a hamstring problem. Juve could hand a debut to Nicolas Anelka after he joined on a short-term deal last month.
BREAKING TEAM NEWS: The starting XI's are in and its good news and bad for Celtic. We have just received word that despite only arriving back in Scotland this morning Ambrose will start for Celtic tonight but Samaras has failed to prove his fitness. Let's take a look at tonight's lineups in full.
Forster, Lustig, Wilson, Ambrose, Izaguirre, Forrest, Brown, Wanyama, Mulgrew, Commons, Hooper
JUVE: Buffon, Barzagli, Bonucci, Caceres, Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Peluso, Matri, Vucinic
Ambrose played for Nigeria on Sunday in their win over Burkina Faso but is straight back in the Celtic starting XI tonight. Left-back Emilio Izaguirre has also recovered from a knee injury to play while James Forrest has shrugged off a hamstring complaint. Gary Hooper
will lead the line with Kris Commons playing just behind the English striker.
In total Lennon has made nine changes from the team which beat Inverness 3-1 last weekend but the absence of Samaras could prove a real blow for the Hoops. The Greek striker is Celtic's top scorer in the Champions League this season and proved a real handful for both Barcelona and Spartak in the group stages.
Juve have made two major changes to their side tonight, with Leonardo Bonucci and Martin Caceres both included in the starting XI. Conte has stuck with his tried and tested 3-5-2 formation, with Alessandro Matri
and Mirko Vucinic
playing in attack.
The visitors have a number of interesting options on their bench tonight including names that will be familiar to Premier League fans. Celtic also have players capable of making a difference among their substitutes.
Zaluska, Matthews, Miku, Nouioui, Ledley, Watt, Kayal
JUVE: Storari, Pogba, Giovinco, Anelka, Padoin, Quagliarella, Marrone
Anelka has made the Juve bench and alongside Giovinco and Quagliarella Juve will be confident of securing a late away goal if required. Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has impressed in the last two months but does not start at Celtic Park tonight.
Lennon has been careful to shield young striker Tony Watt from mounting expectation following his goal against Barcelona in the group stages. He is an option from the bench alongside Welsh midfielder Joe Ledley, who will feel hard done by to be left out tonight.
We touched earlier upon Celtic's exemplary home record in this competition earlier but fortress Celtic Park has been crucial to securing tonight's tie. Lennon has warned in his pre-match press conference that his side should not be underestimated.
will be a key factor in securing a positive result for the Bhoys tonight. The powerful midfielder has been terrific in the Champions League this season, alerting scouts across the continent with his display against Barcelona. He will be up against Andrea Pirlo
and Arturo Vidal in a midfield battle worth watching this evening.
Juve boss Conte has been keen to stress the importance of respecting the opposition tonight. The Italian giants are firm favourties to progress over two legs but Conte has warned his players there is an important job to go in Glasgow tonight.
He told reporters at the pre-match press conference: "If anyone has underestimated Celtic, it has certainly not been us. We have great respect for them.
"We have followed Celtic very closely and they were very strong against Spartak, Benfica and Barcelona and even before that in the qualifiers.
"They are a very good team. To beat Barcelona here and to go close in the Nou Camp is proof of that. We are going to have to be very careful."
Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has also declared this week that he will be unmoved by the famous atmosphere at Celtic Park. The Italian international has insisted that playing in Turkey is a far more hostile proposition than a trip to Glasgow.
We have just one more piece of team news to bring you this evening before kickoff. Ghanaian playmakrer Kwadwo Asamoah
has not followed the example set by Ambrose and is not in Juve's 18-man squad tonight.
Time for a quick stat attack before the atmosphere hits fever pitch in Glasgow. On each of the last four occasions Celtic faced Juventus the home side has been victorious, a good omen for the Hoops tonight.
A packed Celtic Park is in the middle of their familiar pre-match anthem as 'You'll Never Walk Alone' rings out. A truly inspiring setting for the Champions League last 16 to get underway tonight.
The two teams are in the tunnel as Scott Brown and Andrea Pirlo
prepare to lead their sides out. Both captains have struggled with injuries this season but will be fired up to contest a fierce contest. Brown will have a remit to stop Pirlo dictating play this evening.
PREDICTION! There is just time before kickoff for me to offer a feeble pre-match prediciton. Celtic have a proud home record but will struggle to stop Juve scoring tonight as they flood the midfield and break forward in numbers. I think the Bhoys can keep the tie alive ahead of the second leg with a 1-1 draw thanks to a late equaliser. Whatever happens expect a feisty encounter in all departments.
Juve get the match underway playing from left to right in their changed all-black strip. Celtic quickly win possession and force the visitors to defend deep as Wanyama tests Buffon with a drive from distance.
Celtic's first corner sees both Lichsteiner wrestling with Gary Hooper
in the six-yard box but the referee waves away appeals for a penalty.
GOAL! Celtic 0-1 Juventus (Matri)
Disaster for the home side as Juve score a soft opening goal inside the first five minutes. Matri got the better of Efe Ambrose from a long ball and did enough to nudge past the onrushing Fraser Forster
. Celtic cleared off the line but the ball was well over and Matri has clearly got the first goal. Claudio Marchisio
smacked the rebound home to avoid any doubt but either way Juve have made a vital early breakthrough.
Neil Lennon looks absolutely furious and after pleading for concentration his side have switched off in the first meaningful passage of play. That early Matri strike will play into the hands of a Juve side that are notoriously difficult to break down.
SHOT! Kris Commons makes the most of a low cross to test Buffon from 20 yards. The veteran keeper read the drive well and was down quickly to make a routine save at the far post.
A second corner for Celtic sees Hooper being manhandled by Lichsteiner and the referee is on hand to warn both players about their tussle. Izaguirre sends a looping corner to the far post but Juve clear with relative ease.
Celtic have responded well to that early setback but still look vulnerable to the long ball from Pirlo. Juve youngster Peluso has also looked threatening down the left-hand side and comes close to playing in Matri after a slick interchange with Vidal.
Commons is dropping into space to create danger and shoots straight at Buffon before winning a free kick deep in the final third. This is a real chance for the home side to get bodies forward.
Buffon can only palm the delivery from Commons but despite reacting quickest James Forrest elects to control rather than shoot and Juve take advantage to clear the danger.
It looks as though Marchisio has been officially awarded the opening goal because play was allowed to continue from the late clearance. Meanwhile Juve have built a concerted period of pressure in Celtic's half as Pirlo picks out Matri but luckily for the home side Lustig is well placed to make a vital interception.
Matri has been under increasing pressure to deliver this season and in large has flattered to deceive but tonight he looks a man on a mission. His movement is not being tracked by Celtic who need to tighten up defensively to stay in the tie.
Pirlo and Brown clash for the first time in midfield and the Juve skipper is unhappy after being bundled over by the Hoops captain. The referee needs to calm things down as the pair share a heated conversation after tangling for again just moments later.
CHANCE! Pirlo has just split the Celtic defence wide open with a perfect pass to Mirko Vucinic. The striker rounds Forster but is forced wide and decides not to shoot from a tight angle. His cross for Marchisio gives Celtic time to regroup and crowd out the advancing midfielder. That was a real let-off for the home side who are not applying effective pressure in midfield.
CHANCE! Celtic have their best effort of the match as Common sends an acrobatic effort wide after making the most of a low Lustig cross. The midfielder has been by far the best outlet for Lennon's side in the first half.
A spell of Celtic pressure is ended by a poor Ambrose backpass, which gifts Juve their first corner of the match. Pirlo takes his time before playing it short to Vucinic but his cross for Vidal is short and allows Ambrose to redeem himself with a committed block tackle.
Commons dispossess Pirlo before driving at the Juve backline but his curling effort from distance is blocked by Bonucci. The visitors stay calm in defence to play their way out of danger in convincing fashion.
The home crowd are furious after Wanyama is penalised for a soft foul on Vidal with Celtic pressing in the final third. He quickly wins the ball back as the Hoops fire in two crosses from either flank to eventually win a corner kick.
DOUBLE YELLOW CARD! The referee has decided enough is enough and cautions both Hooper and Lichsteiner for their continued wrestling in the box. It must be said that the Swiss defender is blocking the striker with no intention of trying to win the ball. Hooper looks livid but must cool his temper, the last thing Celtic need at this stage is to lose their star forward.
Juve clear and advance forward in numbers after another accurate delivery from Pirlo. Vucinic has time in an advanced position but dithers in possession and Wilson eventually recovers to clear.
Lustig is once again a great outlet for Celtic and whips in a brilliant cross which misses Hooper in the six-yard box by just inches.
YELLOW CARD! Forrest becomes the third player to get booked for a late lunge on Pirlo. The ball was long gone and with studs showing in Europe you are always likely to receive a caution.
Juve try another short corner but Lichsteiner can only send a tame shot through to Forster from range. Celtic break quickly and win a corner of their own after Peluso's block on Forrest.
CHANCE! Forrest catches Juve napping from the corner but scuffs his low shot into a crowd of players when he has time to do far better. That was a genuine chance for Celtic to draw level just before the break.
HALF-TIME: Celtic 0-1 Juventus
A largely positive first 45 minutes for the home side has been undone by a momentary lapse in concentration early on. Juve took advantage and are firmly in the driving seat at the interval.
The opening goal has cast real doubt on Lennon's decision to rush Efe Ambrose back into the Celtic defence. He was fast asleep on four minutes and let Alessandro Matri ghost in behind to open the scoring.
Pirlo has given us another reminder of his qualities this evening by regularly picked out Matri and Vucini with pinpoint accuracy. Celtic have had plenty of encouraging signs since the early goal, with Kris Commons in particular carrying a goal threat. You really feel that Neil Lennon's side need to score tonight to have a chance of progressing.
A major talking point from the first half has been the wrestling match between Hooper and Lichtsteiner from every Celtic corner. Both players have been booked but the Swiss defender is lucky not to have conceded a penalty for blocking that would be more commonplace on a rugby pitch.
Lennon's men have a difficult balancing act to deal with in the second half. They need a goal to draw level but committing players forward in search of an equaliser could prove fatal. Juve have looked dangerous on the counter and a second away goal would surely kill the tie before the return in Turin.
There is just time to give you a score update from tonight's other Champions League tie between Valencia and Paris Saint-Germain at the Mestalla. Carlo Ancelotti's side are 2-0 up at the break thanks to goals from Lavezzi and Pastore. A watching David Beckham will be delighted with his new team's impressive display.
Celtic get the match back underway and quickly launch an attack down the right but Lustig's cross is too easy for Buffon, who comes out to catch under no pressure.
Izaguirre does a good job of keeping Juve under pressure by robbing Lichsteiner in the final third. He helps Celtic work an opening but Commons cannot connect properly with Lustig's cross and sends an aimless shot wide.
The home side are pressing high and causing Juve problems but just lack that cutting edge from a playmaker to provide Hooper with the required service. Juve are defending deeper in the second half but look vulnerable in wide areas.
Izaguirre wants a free kick 20 yards from goal after driving past two Juve defenders before being stopped by Bonucci. The Spanish referee endears himself further to the home crowd by waving away the left-back's angry protests. Celtic have seen big decisions go against them so far this evening.
Juve are struggling to clear their lines as the home side continue to press and force mistakes. Celtic are still looking for quality delivery in wide areas despite taking up promising positions with alarming regularity.
Pirlo is robbed brilliantly by James Forrest and finds Lustig in wide area. The right-back whips in a great cross but Barzagli uses all his experience to stop Forrest meeting the ball with a run from deep. Worryingly for the home side Lustig has gone down clutching his thigh and is signalling to be brought off.
CELTIC SUBSTITUTION: Lustig is unable to continue and Neil Lennon is forced to introduce young full-back Adam Matthews with his first change.
CHANCE! A pattern of Celtic dominance continues as they win another corner and create by far their best opening of the match. Mulgrew finds Ambrose unmarked but the defender can only aim a tame header straight at Buffon from close range. The Nigerian simply had to do better, a header either side of Buffon would have brought his side level.
Juve earn a welcome rest as Peluso forces a foul from Scott Brown on the left-hand side. Celtic quickly recycle possession and charge forward again through Matthews, who reaches the byline before seeing his cutback cleared by Barzagli.
BLOCK! The visitors break and nearly have their second goal through Mirko Vucinic. Peluso took full advantage of Matthews' forward burst to find space and cross for Vucinic but the striker's effort was well blocked by Wilson. For the first time tonight tiredness is coming into play and the match is becoming more open.
Celtic win a corner but Commons is guilty of an awful delivery and once again Juve are off the hook. Brown and Hooper keep the pressure on and win another corner.
Mulgrew takes over set-piece duties but sends a looping cross straight into Buffon's waiting arms at the far post. Juve take the chance to break and win a corner of their own thanks to a brilliant forward burst by Lichtsteiner.
CELTIC SUBSTITUTION: Lennon brings on young striker Tony Watt for Kris Commons. The English playmaker looked tired after a vibrant start and faded badly in the second half.
YELLOW CARD! Celtic add two corners to their count, which now stands at eight overall. The referee decides to book Scott Brown before the ball is delivered after he tangled with Padoin, who has literally just come on for the visitors.
GOAL! Celtic 0-2 Juventus (Marchisio)
Celtic are ripped open by a incisive Juve counter and that goal in all likelihood kills off the tie. Claudio Marchisio will definitely be credited with the second goal after cutting inside Wilson before beating Forster with a composed finish. The home side have pressed for most of the match but two clinical counter-attacks have shattered their Champions League hopes.
SUBSTITUTIONS: Celtic swap Scott Brown for Beram Kayal while Juve bring off goalscorer Matri for Paul Pogba. The powerful midfielder's introduction is a clear sign Conte wants to shut up shop and take a 2-0 lead back to Turin.
GOAL! Celtic 0-3 Juventus (Vucinic)
The tie is well and truly over as tired Celtic legs are ruthlessly exposed by a rampant Juve. Efe Ambrose is caught in possession and Mirko Vucinic takes full advantage by shooting under Forster to add his name to the scoresheet. That third goal is so harsh on Celtic but at this level you cannot afford to switch off for any period of time or you will be punished.
SUBSTITUTION: Juve make their final change and bring on Nicolas Anelka for his debut in place of Vucinic, who takes an age to walk over from the far side after scoring the third goal.
YELLOW CARD! Celtic win a free kick but any chance of a consolation is quickly snuffed out as Mulgrew sends a poor cross straight to Buffon. Claudio Marchisio is booked almost straight after for a cynical challenge on the halfway line.
Juve nearly have a fourth as Anelka comes within inches of picking out Marchisio's run with a low cross, which is just out of the midfielder's reach.
Celtic finish the night on the attack as Matthews sends in a long throw which is dealt with comfortably by Paul Pogba.
FULL-TIME Celtic 0-3 Juventus
The Spanish referee brings an end to a disappointing night for Celtic on their return to the knockout stages. Neil Lennon's side controlled possession for long spells but had defensive mistakes ruthlessly exposed by a formidable Juventus counter attack. Antonio Conte
's side will be a match for anyone in this competition.
That just about does it for Sports Mole live text commentary from Celtic Park. Be sure to check in for analysis in around 30 minutes time on a night full of disappointment for Hoops fans. Goodnight!