Hartson goal sends Celtic through

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CELTIC are through to the last 16 of the Uefa Cup despite losing their third round - second leg match 2-1 at Spanish side Celta Vigo, having gone through on the away goals rule after the tie finished 2-2 on aggregate.

John Hartson's first half goal was the difference as the Scottish champions were able to keep the Spaniards at bay in the closing stages for a hard-fought and well-deserved victory.

An open match saw Celta press to overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit and it was Jesus Jesuli who would bring a fine save out of Celtic's Rab Douglas with swerving right foot shot in the penalty area.

However, Jesuli would not be denied and his next opportunity bought an equaliser as his run and shot deflected past the Scotland number one to make it 1-0 on the evening.

However, the decisive moment of the match came eight minutes before half-time as Hartson overpowered his marker at the top of Celta's penalty box and turned to strike sublimely, giving The Bhoys a valuable away goal.

The second half saw the home side trying to find two goals to turn the tie around.

Celtic were made to sweat some more as Neil Lennon was stretchered off seven minutes after the break then substituted by Paul Lambert with an injury.

Three minutes later, Celtic's situation was made even more difficult as Benni McCarthy clipped in a low Gustavo Lopez cross from the left past Douglas to give Celta a 2-1 lead on the night.

Despite the second goal, a third was needed by the Spaniards and their best chance came moments later when a loose in front of The Bhoys' goal found Jesuli needing simply to connect but he fanned his strike horribly and the chance went begging.

The Vigo club kept piling the pressure on but Martin O'Neill's men held strong to keep the only the Scottish representatives in Europe remaining in the competition.

Click below for match stats:

Celta Vigo 2-1 Celtic (AGG: 2-2 - Celtic win on the away goals rule)