European Champions League
Brave Celts bow out of Champions League
Celtic’s Callum McGregor celebrates after levelling against Bayern Munich (pic: SNS Group)
Celtic 1, Bayern Munich 2
Celtic bowed out of the Champions League after Brendan Rodgers’ side failed to get the result they craved to keep alive their hopes of progressing to the last 16 of the competition.
While it was a vastly improved performance from the one which saw the Celts lose 3-0 in Munich, poor defending again proved costly for the home side.
The positive start Rodgers had demanded from his team saw Celtic enjoy the better of the game until another rearguard calamity gifted the visitors the lead.
A long kick out from keeper Sven Ulreich was inexplicably left by Dedryck Boyata when he could have headed clear and as Craig Gordon came charging out of his area, Kingsley Coman controlled the ball, rounded the keeper and slotted home.
It was a cruel blow for the Scottish champions but instead of buckling as on previous occasions against top European opposition this season, they continued to take the game to Bayern.
A deserved equaliser arrived with 16 minutes remaining, Callum McGregor finishing off a delightful through ball from James Forrest to send Parkhead into raptures.
However, the joy was short-lived as Javi Martínez outjumped Nir Bitton just three minutes later to head the winner past Gordon with 77 minutes on the clock.
Rodgers had wanted his players to show improvement and he will have been pleased at their performance.
However, his target of being in Europe beyond Christmas now lies with finishing in third place in the group, Celtic remaining in pole position to achieve that aim with bottom-placed Anderlecht having been thumped 5-0 by PSG in Paris to remain pointless.
Man-of-the-match Forrest said: “It was a good team performance. On another night we could maybe have got a point. All the lads did themselves justice on the night.
“We take confidence and there are plenty of positives. The aim is to be in Europe after Christmas.”
Celtic: Gordon, Forrest, Lustig, Boyata, Bitton, Tierney, McGregor, Brown, Armstrong (Griffiths, 79), Sinclair (Rogic, 64), Dembele.
Goals: Bayern: Coman (22), Javi Martínez (77); Celtic: McGregor (74).
Other Group B results: Paris St Germain 5 Anderlecht 0