Caldwell hails brilliant Boruc's penalty mastery for saving Celtic

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The Celtic defender Gary Caldwell hailed Artur Boruc as the best goalkeeper in world after his two penalty saves against Spartak Moscow helped the Scottish champions into the group stages of the Champions League.

The Poland keeper made several good saves in the first half on Wednesday to keep the visitors at bay, but he came into his own in the penalty shoot-out after the game had ended 1-1 after extra-time.

With a block from Egor Titov's effort already under his belt, Boruc saved Spartak's fifth penalty from substitute Maxim Kalinichenko to spark wild scenes of delight at Celtic Park.

Caldwell said: "In the first half Artur made some great saves and we always knew we were favourites going into the penalties with him in goal. He is without doubt the best goalkeeper in the world and it's great to know that he is behind [us]. The number of one-on-ones and penalties he saves says it all, the bigger the game the better he is which is a great asset for a player."

Caldwell, however, saw the other side of Boruc seconds before the half-time whistle when he had to intervene to prevent the Poland international and team-mate Lee Naylor taking their spat too far.

Boruc had lambasted the former Wolves player for some indecision in defence and they had to be separated as they left the field at the interval.

But Caldwell played the incident down, saying: "It was just two winners wanting to win a football match and the disagreement spilled over.

"It happens at a club like this, maybe more than you think and it was the pressure. Once you get in and sort it out it spurs you on. It's something that's good and I don't think I would ever knock it out of anyone."

It was just one of several incidents in an incredible night of football. Spartak started the better but Scott McDonald gave the home side the lead.

However, Roman Pavluchenko, who had missed an earlier penalty, equalised on the stroke of half-time. Spartak defender Martin Stranzl was sent off for a tackle on Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink with six minutes to go before the big Dutchman hit the bar with a penalty in extra-time before redeeming himself in the shoot-out.

An emotionally drained Caldwell said: "It was drama and it's the way Celtic do things. I volunteered to take a penalty. We were asked who fancied taking it and we sorted the order out. I took one here last year and missed against Falkirk and scored one for Hibernian against Rangers.

"I've been in that situation before and its nerve-wracking. We discussed it yesterday morning and the gaffer told us we could practise if we wanted.

"I didn't practise although a few lads did. You can't recreate what happens out there, the pressure or the feeling that you get walking up in front of 60,000 people. You can't recreate it. It's down to nerve and it's a relief when it hits the net."

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