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Celtic on comeback trail against Shakhter

Trailing 2-0 to FC Shakhter Karagandy after their play-off first leg, Celtic FC need a famous comeback if they are to deny the Kazakh club a piece of UEFA Champions League history.

The teams step out for the first leg in Kazakhstan
The teams step out for the first leg in Kazakhstan ©UEFA.com

Celtic FC must produce one of their finest European comebacks if they are to deny FC Shakhter Karagandy the honour of becoming the first Kazakh club to reach the UEFA Champions League group stage.

• This tie is the first time that Shakhter have faced a team of European Cup-winning pedigree yet Viktor Kumykov's team were undaunted in the first leg as Andrei Finonchenko (12) and Sergei Khizhnichenko (77) earned them a 2-0 victory.

Match background
• Celtic can take heart from the fact that four times previously they have returned to Glasgow with a 2-0 first-leg deficit to overcome in UEFA competition – and three times they have pulled off a successful fightback.

• They overcame 1. FC Köln (3-0) in the 1992/93 UEFA Cup first round, Sporting Clube de Portugal (5-0) in the 1983/84 UEFA Cup second round, and AS Saint-Étienne (4-0) in the 1968/69 European Champion Clubs' Cup first round. The one exception was against Real Sociedad de Fútbol in the 1982/83 European Cup second round, when a 2-1 second-leg win was not enough.

• Celtic have also won six of their last eight European fixtures in Glasgow, including a memorable 2-1 victory over FC Barcelona in the 2012/13 group stage.

• Celtic were competing in the group stage for the first time last season since 2008/09. They overcame HJK Helsinki and Helsingborgs IF in qualifying, and went on to reach the last 16 after finishing second behind Barcelona in a group also containing SL Benfica and FC Spartak Moskva. Their run ended with a 5-0 aggregate reverse against Juventus which included a 3-0 loss at Celtic Park.

• Neil Lennon's team have yet to concede a home goal in this season's qualifiers, having beaten Northern Ireland's Cliftonville FC 2-0 and IF Elfsborg of Sweden 1-0.

• Shakhter have already raised eyebrows during their run to the play-offs thanks to an unexpected win against FC BATE Borisov in the second qualifying round. Viktor Kumykov's men posted two 1-0 victories over BATE and then got past Albanian title holders KS Skënderbeu in the third qualifying round, winning 3-0 at home before a 3-2 away loss.

• Shakhter's first-leg win at BATE was only their second away success in Europe. The first came on their first ever trip when they won 3-1 at FC Partizan Minsk in the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2006 – a result that salvaged some pride after a 5-1 home reverse in the first leg.

• The closest Shakhter have come to playing in Scotland until now was a 2011/12 UEFA Europa League second qualifying round tie against Ireland's Saint Patrick's Athletic FC that brought a 2-1 home win followed by a 2-0 defeat in Dublin.

• Scotland is the ninth country that Shakhter have visited in their short European history; for Celtic, by contrast, Kazakhstan is the 36th different country which has provided opposition for the Scottish champions in UEFA competition.

• Whatever the outcome, Shakhter can look forward to a historic first European group stage appearance for a Kazakh club, given that the losing side will advance to the equivalent phase of the UEFA Europa League.

• Celtic have competed in the group stage seven times previously but have had mixed fortunes in UEFA Champions League qualifying down the years. Four times they have negotiated successfully the route to the group stage (2001/02, 2003/04, 2007/08, 2012/13) but five times they have fallen short (1998/99, 2002/03, 2005/06, 2009/10, 2010/11).

• In 2005 Celtic lost in the second qualifying round to an MFK Petržalka side who had narrowly escaped elimination against Kazakhstan's FC Kairat Almaty in the previous round.

• Shakhter have never contested a penalty shoot-out in UEFA club competition, while Celtic's record is:
4-3 v FC Spartak Moskva, 2007/08 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round
4-5 v Valencia CF, 2001/02 UEFA Cup third round
4-5 v FC Internazionale Milano, 1971/72 European Champion Clubs' Cup semi-final

Team ties
• Mikael Lustig played in Sweden's 2-0 defeat of Kazakhstan in a FIFA World Cup qualifier in Stockholm last September, while Aleksandr Mokin was on the away bench. The nations meet again in Astana on 10 September.

• Giorgios Samaras played for Greece in a 2-1 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying win against Yevgeni Tarasov's Kazakhstan in Almaty in September 2005. He later featured as a goalscoring substitute when Greece beat Kazakhstan 2-0 in the Cyprus International Football Tournament in March 2006. Maksat Bayzhanov played in the first half for Kazahstan but did not share the field with Samaras, who only came on after half-time.

• Beram Kayal helped Maccabi Haifa FC to a memorable victory against FC Aktobe in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round in 2009/10. After a 0-0 draw in Kazakhstan, Kayal's Haifa trailed 3-0 at home in the return leg before fighting back to win 4-3.

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