Steve McClaren and Trevor Francis give their verdict on Celtic's shock defeat by Shakhtyor Karaganda

Neil Lennon: Will be livid, says Steve McClaren

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Trevor Francis believes Celtic will still qualify for the group stages of the Champions League despite their disastrous play-off first-leg defeat by Shakhtyor Karaganda.

Neil Lennon's side slumped to a 2-0 defeat at the Astana Arena on Tuesday night, putting their chances of progression into serious doubt.

"They were poor goals and he [Lennon] will be absolutely livid with the defending."

Steve McLaren

Celtic failed to capitalise on a host of great chances and stumbled to a shock loss after goals from Shakhtyor's Andrei Finonchenko and Sergei Khizhnichenko.

Francis, a two-time European Cup winner, still maintains they can overturn their fortunes in the second leg ain Glasgow next week, but admitted the performance does not bode well for Celtic's chances of replicating their recent feats in the Champions League.

"I think it is well within their capabilities of overturning this score," he told Sky Sports. "It is not a good scoreline because I have mentioned the fact that it is imperative that you score away from home.

"But this is not a good sign. Last year and the year before in Europe Celtic have played against much, much stronger teams than this. I think they will go through."


Fellow pundit Steve McClaren was highly critical of the Scottish Champions' defending, which saw them concede two sloppy goals away from home.

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"Shakhtyor Karaganda - this should be an easy game but there are not easy games in Europe especially when you have to travel," he said. "Poor Neil Lennon and his staff will have said, 'we will prepare right, get there early, practise on the pitch, we will do everything right.'.

"But you cannot account for players making the mistakes that they did for the goals that they scored. They were poor goals and he [Lennon] will be absolutely livid with the defending."

Francis, who won the European Cup with Nottingham Forest in 1979 and 1980, agreed with McClaren that Celtic's defending had let them down badly, but also pointed to their failing in front of goal.


"It is always a bad result when you don't score away from home," he said. "Most teams do, as we will see later with every team tonight scoring away from home. So they will be desperately disappointed because they had enough chances.

"There were one or two poor misses and I am sure that Celtic supporters will point to the fact that there was no Gary Hooper there and they did not have his goals tonight. But there are enough chances for them to score at least one goal."