Celtic Through To Champions League

Kris Commons claims Celtic's dramatic late entry into the Champions League last night with their 3-0 win over Shakhter Karagandy at Parkhead was better than beating Barcelona last season.

The Hoops trailed 2-0 from the first leg of their play-off in Astana but were on track for a comeback when Commons' 25-yard drive in first-half injury time gave the home side the interval lead. 

Georgios Samaras scored three minutes after the restart and as the game looked to be heading into extra time, James Forrest scored a dramatic third goal in injury time to book a place in Thursday's draw. 

Neil Lennon's men beat Barca 2-1 at Celtic Park in the group stages last season on their way to the last 16 but Commons insists the win over the Kazakhstan champions was better. 

He said: ``I thought beating Barcelona was one of the highlights of my career. 

``Certainly winning the double last year was one also. 

``But this eclipses everything. To come from two goals down and to win it in the 90th minute was one of the greatest moments of my life.

 ``Going into the break with the goal was a massive twist of fate for us. 

``It changed the complexion of the team talk. We thought, 'we are half way there.' 

``But as regards important goals, I think James will get all the plaudits for getting that goal in the last minute.'' 

Afterwards Lennon had a dig at what he claimed to be a negativity towards the club but he admitted reaching the Champions League for the second successive season after losing Gary Hooper, Victor Wanyama and Kelvin Wilson in the summer made it ``the greatest thing I have ever done in football''.

The former Celtic skipper said: ``We lost three very important players and it has been difficult to replace them. 

``Coming from a two-goal deficit as well, it makes the players' performances all the more remarkable. 

``The players were wonderful.'' Shakhter boss Viktor Kumykov had no complaints about the result. 

He said: ``We are disappointed but the result was fair. 

``We lost to a team who were better than us, with a higher class of player and more quality. 

``We lost an injury-time goal in the first half and in the second half which is a pity but now we have to get ready for the Europa League.''

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