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Too little too late as Hapoel progress

Celtic FC 2-0 Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC
The hosts registered their first Group C win but victory elsewhere for Hamburger SV means it is Hapoel who have more to celebrate.

Celtic's Georgios Samaras celebrates after scoring against Hapoel Tel-Aviv
Celtic's Georgios Samaras celebrates after scoring against Hapoel Tel-Aviv ©Getty Images

Celtic FC claimed their first victory in Group C but it proved too late to revive their round of 32 chances. In a strange twist it was beaten Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC who ended the night celebrating progress following Hamburger SV's 2-0 victory over SK Rapid Wien.

Mixed fortunes
These sides began the day at either ends of the section but an uninformed visitor to Celtic Park would have been hard pressed to pick Hapoel out as leaders. Goals midway through either half from Georgios Samaras and, from a free-kick, Barry Robson earned the hosts the points though events in Germany ended ambitions of extending their European campaign into the new year – while realising Hapoel's.

McGeady threat
Marc Crosas had spoken before the game about Celtic being "in a position we don't deserve to be" at the foot of Group C and after a vibrant performance in Glasgow it was difficult to disagree. Much was down to Aiden McGeady as he twisted right-back Dani Bondarv inside-out time and again. One sortie ended with a pull-back which Scott McDonald blazed over but, two minutes later, Samaras proved far more clinical as he powered in the winger's delicious hanging cross following a quick free-kick.

Upright struck
Run ragged by McGeady, Hapoel's defence was cleaved open again ten minutes before half-time when McDonald sprung the offside trap and beat Vincent Enyeama to the ball on the edge of the box. With the back line scrambling, Samaras diverted his strike-partner's centre onto the post. The visitors were a shadow of the side that so comprehensively defeated Rapid last time out, an Etey Shechter snap-shot just before the opener all they had to show for the first period. It got no better in the second, Robson making it 2-0 when he curled, left-footed, into the bottom corner. Yet it was the Israeli side that ended the night celebrating.