Celtic 0 Dinamo Moscow 1

Celtic 0
Dinamo Moscow 1 (Kokorin 7)

Tony Mowbray’s Celtic tenure got off to the worst possible start with a one goal defeat against Dinamo Moscow at Celtic Park. The Glasgow sides Champions League hopes now hang by a thread and a turnaround of epic proportions will be required in order for Celtic to progress.

The goal arrived as early as the seventh minute and it was the excellent, Alexander Kerzhakov who was the provider. The playmaker picked the ball up on the left and flighted a wonderful pass into the six yard box for Alexander Kokorin to score under the legs of Arthur Boruc.

Boruc had already made a fine save from Luke Wilshire and Celtic had failed to heed the warning signs. The early goal was the perfect platform the visitors needed to set out their stall.

Celtic slowly began to control possession and out of the blue two gilt-edged opportunities presented themselves to Marc-Antoine Fortune. First, he failed to connect with a pinpoint Aiden McGeady cross. And seconds later shot wide from three yards after Shaun Maloney had opened the Dinamo defence.

If ever a side was reminded that pre-season could prove deceptive, then Celtic were certainly the victims tonight. Massimo Donati continuously surrendered possession in key areas, often allowing the menacing Kerzhakov to strike fear into Celtic hearts.

The hosts started the second half brightly, forcing a string of set pieces, but within five minutes Dinamo had reverted to their composed defensive set-up.

Scott McDonald eventually forced a clearance off the line. However, Celtic’s play was too erratic and Mowbray replaced McDonald and Fortune with Georgios Samaras and Chris Killen on the hour.

The substitutions changed nothing and every attack was meat and drink for Dinamo’s organised and disciplined defence.

Danny Fox replaced the ineffective Donati to make his Celtic debut. However, it was Boruc who made a superb save from substitute, Fedor Smolov, to prevent the hosts from falling further behind.

With four minutes left Samaras should have salvaged a draw for Celtic, but his header from an excellent Gary Caldwell cross was straight at the keeper.

The Russians did look sharper than Celtic throughout the match and are already halfway through their season. However, Celtic were aware they would be entering the competition at this stage since May and will now need a minor miracle if they are to avoid falling out of the Champions League at the first hurdle.

Celtic: Boruc, Hinkel, Caldwell, Loovens, Naylor; McGeady, NGuemo, Donati (Fox 67), Maloney; Fortune (Samaras 60), McDonald (Killen 60).
Subs not used: Zaluska, Crosas, Flood, O’Dea.
Dinamo Moscow: Gabulov; Kowalczyk, Fernandez, Kolodin, Granat; D Kombarov, Svezhov, Wilkshire, K Kombarov; Kerzhakov, Kokorin (Smolov 74).
Subs not used: Denisov, Shunin, Tansijevic, Dimidko, Ropotan.

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