Less than a year after beating Barcelona 2-1 in the Champions League group stage and making Rod Stewart cry tears of joy, the Scottish champions have lost the first leg of their Champions League playoff tie against Kazakh side Shakhter Karagandy 2-0. Rod Stewart's reaction to the loss remains unknown, since he probably didn't make the trip to Kazakhstan for the match.
Celtic were out of sorts from the start, as they were unable to have main sponsor Magners grace their shirt due to Kazakhstan's ban on promoting alcohol. Instead, they wore the logo of Tipperary Natural Mineral Water, which is owned by Magners' parent company. Meanwhile, Shakhter sacrificed a sheep for good luck ahead of the match. Clearly all of this gave the back to back Kazakhstan Premier League champions a mental edge that they capitalized on by scoring their first goal in just the 12th minute. They added a second in the 77th minute, delighting the 20,000 fans at Shaktyor Stadium and ensuring that Celtic would have work to do in the return leg. They might want to round up some sheep.
Shakhter, meanwhile, will be out to make history. There has never been a Kazakh club in the Champions League group stage.