Published Tuesday, 20 August 2013
Lurgan-born Celtic boss Neil Lennon. (© Getty)
The Scottish champions have given themselves a lot of work to do to if they are now to reach the group stages of the competition.
The Hoops fell behind after just 12 minutes of their first leg play-off game at the Astana Arena.
Andrei Finonchenko opened the scoring for the Kazakh side, despite Celtic getting off to a good start. But a thunderous drive from Kris Commons minutes later only rattled the bar.
More of the same followed in the second half - James Forrest missed a chance for the visitors from just six yards out, but it was Shakhter's Sergei Khizhnichenco who headed home after 77 minutes.
Despite being the 'home' team, Shakhter - the first Kazakh side to reach the play-off round of the tournament - were playing in the national stadium, 114 miles away from their usual base.
The 30,000-capacity venue was close to full, but with only a couple of dozen Celtic fans in one corner behind a goal.
Lennon's side could have gone two ahead before Shakhter even opened their goal account, but it just wasn't to be.
Speaking after the match, the Parkhead boss admitted the performance lacked "composure" but remained determined.
"It is a big task but the tie is far from over," he said. "We have plenty in us to turn it around. The players will be very motivated."
Lennon continued: "We worked some great opportunities and all we needed was a goal to change the whole complexion of the tie.
"We knew exactly how they would play. We knew they would be physical and a threat from set pieces.
"But if you look at the game in the cold light of day, we had six or seven clear-cut chances to either take the lead, equalise or get back in the tie so it gives us plenty of encouragement for the second game in Glasgow."
After getting past Belfast's Cliftonville and Swedish team Elfsborg in the previous qualifiers, Celtic now need to overturn the two-goal deficit when they meet Shakhter again next week at Parkhead.
© UTV News