FC Barcelona hit the high notes after Neymar opened his UEFA Champions League account in considerable style with a hat-trick and an assist as Celtic FC were brushed aside 6-1 at the Camp Nou.
The visitors chased shadows all night, only managing a response with two minutes left as Charlie Mulgrew laid on a goal for Giorgios Samaras, just as the pair had done here last season. By then, however, Barcelona were six to the good, Cristian Tello marking his return from injury with a late strike as the four-time European champions secured first place in Group H in clinical fashion.
Neymar, Barcelona forward
This has been a happy night for me and for the team because of the result we've managed to produce. It was important to me to get off the mark as a goalscorer in the Champions League, and of course it's a fantastic feeling to do it with a hat-trick.
We are very pleased to finish top of the group because that was our objective right from the outset. Now we must continue playing in this style if we can. Two defeats in a row for us, in the Champions League and the league, meant a big win was very welcome. Who we play now doesn't matter to me – we'll just treat the challenge with respect and play to win.
Cristian Tello, Barcelona forward
This is just the result and performance we needed. We really got stuck into giving a good performance, very intense from front to back. We worked so hard, moved the ball so well and pressed so hard that Celtic didn't have a chance to think. You can see all this in the size of the result.
I'd like to thank the coach for putting faith in me when I'm coming back from injury and giving me decent minutes in a match like this one. Neymar managed to fill in for [Lionel] Messi very well indeed but I see no point in putting him under pressure. Many people were saying he wasn't in form in front of goal and there's a hat-trick this evening to counter that argument. He's fitted into the team from the very first moment.
We've had a slight drop in form but this proves we are over that and looking forward to playing with intensity in the knockout round now.
Charlie Mulgrew, Celtic defender
Barcelona did play really well but I don't think we defended as well as we can do as a team. Two things went against us: Barcelona scored very early, meaning we had to come out and try to play a bit more, and they seemed to take almost every main chance they got.
In the Champions League particularly you have to attack as a team and defend as a team and if you give any chances to a side like this, you'll lose. It shows how good they are that they have a few big players, especially Andrés Iniesta and Messi, missing and produce a performance like this. Neymar is just one more fantastic resource in an already very good team.
Getting a second assist in two games here is absolutely of no consolation after a defeat like this. We need to be positive and try to learn from this. We've been in games like this to try and win, not to make up the numbers. The positive is that we put ourselves in a position to reach the Champions League and play big teams like Barcelona. Now we need to go back and achieve that all over again for next season.
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