Celtic's hopes of gaining a foothold in Champions' League Group F were dealt a shattering blow here last night. An overwhelming defeat to a side who had failed to amass any points before this game left them at the bottom of the group and looking out of their depth.
Three second-half goals put paid to Martin O'Neill's side, who had been encouraged before the start by the return of Bobo Baldé in defence, which meant that Chris Sutton reverted to a more forward role in midfield. At the back, Celtic had to be solid because they faced an early storm of attacks from Shakhtar, though the Scottish champions came within inches of going ahead in the eighth minute when Sutton found John Hartson on the right and he whipped in a dangerous cross which goalkeeper Jan Lastuvka allowed to bounce off the crossbar.
Celtic produced their best move while Jackie McNamara was receiving treatment when Henri Camara burst infield and passed to Hartson on the edge of the area who teed up the ball for a Sutton strike which Lastuvka could only push away.
O'Neill was forced to replace McNamara with Stephen McManus moments later before Stanislav Varga was booked for a reckless challenge from behind on Ciprian Marica.
Celtic should then have taken the lead with a simple but effective move. Sutton headed down McManus's long free-kick and Hartson swivelled and looked set to score, but he was unable to keep his shot down from seven yards.
O'Neill made another change at the break when young winger Ross Wallace came on for Sutton, who had failed to recover from an earlier blow in the face.
Celtic went behind in the 56th minute when Francelino Matuzalem was given too much space to unleash a fierce, low drive which David Marshall touched but could prevent flying into the net. Celtic were effectively put out of the game in the 62nd minute when Matuzalem exchanged passes with Zvonimir Vukic and emphatically fired in the second goal. Evaeverson Brandao sealed the win for Shakthar in the 78th minute.
Shakhtar Donetsk: Lastuvka; Tymoshchyuk, Stoican, Rat, Matuzalem, Vukic, Lewandowski, Barcauan, Aghahowa, Vorobey, Marica. Substitutes: Shutkov (gk), Hubschman, Duljaj, Bielik, Lalatovic, Brandao, Srna.
Celtic: Marshall; McNamara (McManus), Balde, Varga, Agathe, Lennon, Juninho, Petrov, Sutton (Wallace, h-t), Hartson, Camara. Substitutes: Hedman (gk), Sylla, Pearson, Lambert, McManus, McGeady.
Referee: R Temmink (Netherlands).Reuse content