Hat-trick of Argentinian
Messi leads rout of Scottish champions
Celtic may be sweeping aside all challengers on their home turf, but the gulf with the giants of the European game was truly exposed at the Nou Camp.
Having lost 6-1 here in their last encounter, this latest thrashing showed that was no fluke. Brendan Rodgers’ team were crushed by the Spanish team who inflicted the heaviest ever European defeat on the Scottish champions.
Rodgers, who came close to the ultimate humiliation of not making it through the first qualifying round against a team made up Gibraltan part-timers, now faces a further inquisition after this result.
Lionel Messi scored his sixth Champions League hat-trick. Iniesta and Neymar each scored before Suarez added a double against his former coach.
Celtic’s Moussa Dembele offered his team their best chance, only to see his penalty saved.
Statistics showed how much this match was one-way traffic throughout. Celtic managed just 28% of the possession and only three shots against their host’s 15.
If there is any consolation for the Scots, Barcelona are used to putting so-called rivals to the sword.
But on this showing Celtic’s return to the group stages of this competition will be little more than damage limitation.
Rodgers tried to find some positives from a poor night. He told BT Sport 3: “We put a huge effort into the weekend and got a fantastic victory.
“It’s always going to be really, really tough in your next game to probably the best possession team in the world.
“I think in the first half we had a critical moment in the game. We went 1-0 down very early and then got a great chance and I think if you get the penalty and get it to 1-1 then it makes it a little bit nervy, especially after them losing at the weekend.
“But, of course, not long after that they got the second goal and I think in the second half we ran out of legs to be honest.
“The game at the weekend added to the immense quality they have in their game and it obviously becomes very difficult and then the scoreline by the end is bitterly disappointing.
“There’s a lot to take from the game for the players in terms of technique, in terms of simplicity and quality and lots of things to learn for them from the game.”