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Live Commentary: Celtic 3-0 Shakhtyor Karaganda (3-2) - as it happened

Live coverage of the second leg of Celtic's Champions League qualifier playoff against Kazakhstan side Shakhtyor Karaganda.

James Forrest scored in stoppage time to send Celtic through to the group stage of the Champions League.

The Scottish champions had headed into this evening's second leg against Shakhtyor Karaganda with a 2-0 deficit.

Kris Commons and Georgios Samaras got the Bhoys back on level terms before Forrest's late strike sent them through.

Read how all the action unfolded below:

Good evening! It's around an hour until kickoff at Celtic Park, and the home side have already named their team for tonight's match. Let's take a look at the starting lineup...

CELTIC STARTING XI: Forster, Matthews, Ambrose, Lustig, Mulgrew, Forrest, Brown, Ledley, Commons, Samaras, Stokes

CELTIC SUBSTITUTES: Izaguirre, Zaluska, Boerrigter, Van Dijk, Balde, Watt, McGeouch

The big news for the Hoops is that Georgios Samaras, Kris Commons, James Forrest and Anthony Stokes are all fit to start. The quartet missed Saturday's draw with Inverness through injury. However, Beram Kayal is out, having picked up a groin strain at the weekend.

Neil Lennon also has some fire power on the bench. Amido Balde has made a bright start to life at Celtic, while Tony Watt scored the winner for the Bhoys against Barcelona in last year's Champions League.

There are few draws that could have seen two teams have to travel further for this round of the tournament. Despite that, some of the Kazakh champions' fans have made the journey to Glasgow this evening:

Ahead of the match, manager Neil Lennon told reporters: "There are deficiencies in the way Shakhtyor play, we exposed them in the first game but couldn't take advantage of it. I need my players to play their best and if they play their best then I think they will win this tie. We know we can create chances against this team and hopefully at home we can take those opportunities."

There has been some controversy in the build-up to this evening's clash. Ahead of the first leg, Karaganda sacrificed a sheep to bring them luck. UEFA and animal rights group PETA have been among those to condemn the move. Despite this, coach Viktor Kumykov has hinted that the same ritual will take place ahead of tonight's match.

Talking about matters on the pitch, Kumykov told BBC Scotland: "It won't be a tragedy for us if we don't qualify to the Champions League group stages. As we stated before, the main task was to qualify for the group stage of a European competition and we have achieved this anyway. It may be even better if we don't qualify for the Champions League group stages because in football it is always better when you develop gradually."

Whichever side goes on to win this tie will find out who they will face in the group stage tomorrow evening, when the draw for the next round takes place. Should Celtic overturn the first-leg deficit, they'll be one of five British clubs in tomorrow's draw.

KARAGANDA STARTING XI: Mokin, Vasiljevic, Poryvaev, Maily, Dzidic, Vicius, Simcevic, Ghazaryan, Canas, Finonchenlo, Khizneihchenko

So last week's goal scorers Andrei Finonchenko and Sergei Khizhnichenko both start against the Scottish champions this evening. A third goal, and more importantly an away goal, for the visitors would leave Celtic with a mammoth task.

Celtic striker Kris Commons turns 30 on Friday. He told the club's website that he still feels as fit as ever, and that this evening's match is massive for the team: "I still feel good and playing at a relatively high level and I don't feel as if I'm on a downward spiral just yet. You are probably looking at your peak between 27 to 32-33 as obviously experience is a big thing and if you are physically fit there is no reason why you can't stay at the top of your game for a good couple of years. I enjoy my football and feel fit, but this game tonight is going to have massive importance on the outcome of our season."

KARAGANDA SUBSTITUTES: Pokatilov, Tarasov, Gabyshev, Bayzhanov, Darabayez, Murtazayez, Zenkovich

There a couple of other playoffs taking place this evening. AC Milan face Eredivisie runners-up PSV Eindhoven, while Real Sociedad take a two-goal lead into their clash with Lyon. You can follow live commentaries of both with Sports Mole this evening.

Looking at the bookmakers' odds for this evening's game, the majority have Celtic as favourites to win the match, but there is little between the two sides when it comes to winning the tie.

With kickoff not far away, it's time for me to make a prediction. I think the long journey may have taken it out of the visitors a little and the home crowd should boost Celtic. I think the Hoops could do it tonight so I'm going for a 3-0 win.

"You'll Never Walk Alone" is played over the speakers around the ground just before the players come out of the tunnel. The supporters belt out the song, if they can maintain that level of noise throughout the game, it will be huge boost to their team.

The players head onto the pitch ready for tonight's game.

There's just time for a quick handshake and team photos ahead of kickoff. Celtic are lining up in a 4-4-2 formation, while Karaganda are going 4-5-1.

The visitors get the match underway.

Captain Scott Brown looks for a way through the midfield early on, initially looking to Adam Matthews on the right wing, before slotting the ball forward for Charlie Mulgrew, but the Karaganda have numbers back on steal possession away. Every time the visitors get the ball the Celtic crowd boo, but cheers erupt as Roger Canas is tripped down the left sideline. They're going to have to get used to a hostile atmosphere this evening.

Finonchenko delivers a long free kick looking for Khiznichenko inside the Celtic box, but Forster comes off his line to comfortably claim the ball.

Celtic produce their first really dangerous move as Stokes crosses the ball in for Samaras. The Greek striker doesn't quite reach the ball, but it is eventually put out for a corner.

CHANCE! Kris Commons whips the ball in towards Lustig, who goes for a header, but Alexandr Mokin produces a brilliant save to deny the home side an early goal. It's been a positive start by Celtic though, and they have the home fans right behind them.

Mulgrew wins the ball back in midfield before finding Samaras on the edge of the box, but the striker can't find a way into the penalty area. Khizhnichenko breaks on the counter attack, but goes for it from too far out. Forster makes the save, but it looks like it was heading wide anyway.

CHANCES! Celtic are all over the Karaganda goal, as Stokes breaks into the box and Mokin comes out to intercept the move, but the Celtic man gets the better of him. The initial attempt is cleared off the line by Dzidic before Mokin gets back into position to tip the follow-up over for a corner. Mulgrew gets a chance from the resulting corner, but once again the visiting keeper is alert.

Mulgrew delivers a dangerous ball into the box for Samaras, but the striker is being closely marked by Poryvaev and Dzidic and doesn't have enough room to get a clear header away. He ends up hitting the deck as a result of a challenge by Dzidic, but his appeals for a penalty are waved away.

CHANCE! Mokin makes a superb stop to deny Anthony Stokes from close range. The Dublin-born striker tried to drill the ball in low, but the keeper showed superb reactions yet again. Mokin has been tested early on, but fortunately for Karaganda he appears to be having a brilliant game.

CHANCE! Celtic win a free kick from a dangerous position. Commons takes it and goes directly got goal. Mokin parries the initial delivery away, before Poryvaev puts it behind for a corner. The initial delivery is cleared, but Stokes manages to force the ball back in and wins another corner, but Samaras is caught offside.

BOOKING! A poor challenge from Aleksandar Simcevic on Samaras results in the first booking of the game and gives Celtic a free kick around 30 yards out. Commons curls it in for Mulgrew, but it falls to Stokes, who can't quite get his feet around the ball in time to take a shot.

Celtic win another free kick from a similar position. Again, it's Common who takes it, but Mulgrew can't get anywhere near it. He looks to the referee, claiming that he was held back, but the officials aren't interested.

Khiznichenko manages to force the action away from the Karaganda goal, heading into the Celtic half, but Mulgrew quickly gets back to defend and forces the striker to knock the ball out for a Celtic throw in. Stokes takes a shot from distance following Mulgrew throw in, but it was always rising.

Karaganda are back on the attack as Khiznichenko finds Canas down the left wing. The visitors win a corner, which Vicius launches deep into the box, but Roger Canas rushes his finish, slicing the ball high into the stand.

Brown bursts into the box and beats Vasiljevic which a brilliant chip over the defenders head, but he can't get in front of the right back in time to take a shot. He collides with Poryvaev while chasing the ball, leaving the defender on the ground, but if doesn't appear to be a serious knock.

Karaganda wins a free kick. A long delivery finds Vasiljevic around wide, who crosses it in for Dzidic, but his finish is well high of the crossbar. The visitors have just started to find their way into this match in the last five minutes or so, Celtic have to be careful not to give their opponents an away goal.

A clash with Brown leaves Vicius down and needing treatment, he's helped to the sideline rubbing his ribs, but it looks like he's alright to continue. Meanwhile, Karaganda apply pressure inside the Celtic half yet again, but a lose ball towards the penalty area bobbles harmlessly into Forster's arms.

Celtic get the ball back down the other end. Mulgrew struggles to find a way into the box, so passes out wide to Matthews. The Welshman tries to cross it in for Samaras, but it's blocked by Poryvaev. However, Samaras picks the ball up from the clearance, and wins a free kick around 25 yards out.

CHANCE! Stokes takes the free kick and goes directly for the target. Mokin tips it wide and Ledley rushes in looking for a second chance for the home side, but Mokin spots the danger and pounces on the loose ball. A bit of a scuffle breaks out, as the Karaganda players aren't happy that Ledley ran into their keeper, but the referee quickly breaks it up without having to get his cards out again.

BOOKING! Roger Canas gets a yellow card for a clumsy tackle on Efe Ambrose. Tempers are just beginning to fray a little on both teams.

Karaganda win the ball back in midfield allowing Finonchecko to play his way into the box, forcing Lustig to put it behind for a corner. However, Celtic quickly clear the ball, and Samaras wins a free kick.

BOOKING! Gediminas Vicius, who gave away the free kick for the foul on Samaras, becomes the third player on the visiting team to pick up a booking.

CHANCE! James Forrest gets himself into space just outside the box and tries to smash it in, but he slightly mis-hits the ball, and has to see his shot go just wide.

CHANCE! Stokes, with a brilliant first touch, goes for goal, but some impressive defending by Poryvaev sees the ball go behind for a goal kick.

GOAL! Celtic 1-0 Karaganda (Commons)

It's a super finish from Kris Commons, as he picks the ball up around 30 yards out before unleashing a rocket from the edge of the box, picking out the top corner. Just what the home side needed on the verge of half time.

HALF TIME: Celtic 1-0 Shakhtyor Karaganda

Celtic really have been the dominant side so far this evening, and their hard work paid off just before half time. Kris Commons' wonderstrike has got the Scottish champions right back in this tie. They have 45 minutes to find at least one more.

Let's take a look at some stats from the first half. Celtic had 72% of the possession, having nine shots compared to Karaganda's two. The home side have also been better on the discipline side of things, conceding five fouls, while Shakhtyor have given away 11 and picked up three bookings.

Celtic's only disappointment may be that they haven't already got back on level terms. They had five efforts on goal in the opening 45 minutes. The visitors have had applied some pressure as they look for a vital away goal, but it was a quiet opening spell for Fraser Forster.

Just a reminder, should Karaganda score an away goal, they would progress to the group stage in the event of a draw.

The players are heading back out for the second half. If it's possible, the crowd seem even louder now than they were in the first half.

Celtic get the second half underway.

Celtic are on the attack straight away as the ball is crossed in for Joe Ledley, but the Wales international doesn't manage to control the ball in time.

GOAL! Celtic 2-0 Karaganda (Samaras)

Celtic are back on level terms thanks to a clinical strike from Georgios Samaras. The visitors thought they had cleared a corner from the hosts, but the Greek striker managed to pick the ball up on the edge of the box to loop it over Mokin, giving Celtic a 2-0 lead on the night, but more importantly, makes it 2-2 on aggregate.

Karaganda try to hit back straight away, but Ghazarian is ruled offside. It wouldn't have mattered though, as Forster was able to easily take the ball. This is going to be a tense final 40 minutes for both sides.

Celtic are still on the attack, forcing another corner. Karaganda do a better job of clearing this time around. Samaras tries to force his way back in, but the goalscorer hauls Poryvaev down on the edge of the box.

Karaganda give their opponents another free kick around 25 yards out. Commons tries to delivery it into the box, but the wall does it's job. The visitors haven't defended well against set pieces this evening, but they got it right that time.

OFF THE BAR! Celtic come within inches of taking the lead as Ledley set Stokes up for a simple tap in from close range, but the Irishman's header is just kept out by the post.

OFF THE LINE! Adam Matthews makes a brilliant clearance off the line, as Forster comes off his line to clear a Finonchenko corner, before the Welsh defender calmly kicks the ball away from the Celtic net from a Canas effort.

OFF THE BAR! Celtic are living dangerously as a Vicius launches a long thrown into the box which misses everyone before bouncing off the bar, but the hosts manage to clear and immediately head down the other end.

Should neither side find a winning goal before full time, there will be 30 minutes of extra time with the possibility of penalties if the scores are still level after that.

BOOKING! Joe Ledley picks up Celtic's first yellow card of the evening for a foul on Khiznichenko.

Forrest picks out Samaras on the wing, but the striker takes one step too many before attempting his cross in for Commons, giving Karaganda a goal kick.

Karaganda force a thrown in around 30 yards out. Vicius launches another of his long deliveries from the sideline, but some shoving inside the box sees Celtic awarded a free kick. The Kazakh side's discipline has improved in the second half though.

Mulgrew forces a corner for Celtic, but Commons' delivery in is cleared. Finonchenko picks up a knock while defending the corner and needs some treatment, but he's quickly back on his feet after a visit by the physio.

CHANCE! Forrest show superb skill with his feet to play his way into the box, but he waits too long to take the shot, and gets no power behind the ball, providing Mokin with an easy save in the end.

CHANCES! Samaras avoids a challenge from Simcevic to cross the ball in towards Commons, but his shots is saved. Stokes attempts to lash in the rebound but the keeper stops that too before a Ledley effort is blocked by Dzidic.

SUB! Kris Commons goes off to a standing ovation as Derk Boerrigter comes on for the home side.

CHANCE! Samaras races hard to pick up a long Forrest pass. He tries to cross in towards Boerttigter, who has been on the pitch for seconds, but Mokin is able to take the catch before the Dutchman can reach the ball.

SUB! The visitors make their first change as captain Andrei Finonchenko makes way for Igor Zenkovich.

BOOKING! Khiznichenko curls the ball in towards Zenkovich, but the substitutes first touch of the night is poor, allowing Mulgrew an easy clearance. His second touch earns him a yellow card as he recklessly jumps into the back of Forrest, who appears to have been left in some pain.

The volume around the ground rises as Samaras tries to find a way through the Karaganda defence. The Greek striker has been mighty for the hosts tonight, but on this occasions he's easily beaten by Dzidic, who has easily been the best defender for the visitors.

Forrest is really struggling as a result of his collision with Zenkovich. Assuming there's extra time still to come, I can't see him staying on for much longer.

Khiznichenko curls the ball into the box, but there are no Karaganda men in the box, giving Forster a simple catch.

Both sides have four minutes of stoppage time to find a winner. Samaras tries to do just that with a volley from the edge of the penalty area, but Khiznichenko is back to block the strike.

GOAL! Celtic 3-0 Karaganda (Forrest)

Anthony Stokes superbly sets up James Forrest for a rocket from close range. Celtic have around 90 seconds to hand on.

SUB! Forrest goes off to a rousing cheer as Virgil van Dijk comes on for the final minute.

Karaganda win a free kick. Vicius whips it in by Forster quickly snatches it for the home side. Neil Lennon obviously seen enough as he heads down the tunnel.

FULL TIME: Celtic 3-0 Shakhtyor Karaganda


It was always going to be a tough night for the Scottish champion, but they raised their game when it mattered, getting themselves back on level terms early in the second half, before a stoppage-time winner from James Forrest sealed a 3-2 aggregate win.

Karaganda look deflated as they head off the pitch. They turned up with a two-goal lead, and created some good chances as they sought an away goal, but it wasn't to be. The Kazakh side do have the silver lining of a place in the Europa League to look forward to.

Well that's all from a jubilant Celtic Park this evening, but join stick around for reaction to this result, and join us again tomorrow to find out who Celtic, and the four Premier League sides in the tournament, will face in the group stage. Until then, thanks for joining me this evening, goodbye!

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Celtic manager Neil Lennon during a friendly with Brentford on July 20, 2013
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