Jeff J Mitchell
Victor Wanyama put Celtic ahead in the first half and 18-year-old Tony Watt sealed the victory late as the Hoops stunned Barcelona at Celtic Park
Two weeks ago Celtic came within minutes of a draw against Barcelona, today at Celtic Park they survived a stoppage time onslaught from the Spanish giants and held on for the 2-1 win. Goals from Victor Wanyama and Tony Watt were the difference as the Hoops celebrated their 125th anniversary in glorious style.
Celtic took the lead in the first half after earning a corner in the 20th minute. Victor Wanyama completely abused Jordi Alba at the far post, heading Charlie Mulgrew's perfectly placed corner past Victor Valdés. Alba made zero attempt to leave the group, attempting to corral Wanyama with elbows and hands as the midfielder easily skied over him. As the Celtic players celebrated behind the goal, Neil Lennon and the Celtic supporters went bonkers.
Barca had their chances in the first half, but the woodwork was against them. Lionel Messi nearly equalized in the 29th minute, but his shot pinged off the crossbar after being every so slightly deflected by Fraser Forster. Alexis had his chance in the 37th minute, beating Forster with a header off a Dani Alves cross but the ball bounced off the post.
Celtic nearly got a second in the 64th minute after Marc Barta failed to play a long ball properly, apparently believing Valdes was going to come out and play it. Mulgrew pounced but couldn't settle the ball quick enough, allowing Barta to recover and block his off balance shot.
On the other end Forster was playing out of his mind, making two tremendous saves on Alexis and Messi as the half dragged on. Forster also stopped a late free kick from Messi, correctly reading his shot from the start.
Celtic added a second goal in the 83rd minute after Xavi made a mess of a Forster goal kick, misplaying the ball and allowing it to roll back towards his goal. 18-year-old Tony Watt raced past Javier Mascherano, collected the loose ball and buried in the far corner of the net to put Celtic up 2-0.
Of course, you knew it would be that easy. Messi pulled one back in the 90th minute, finishing off a rare rebound from Forster to make it 2-1. Barcelona threw everything they had at the Celtic goal in the final minutes of stoppage time but it wasn't enough as time ran out and Celtic earned a huge victory. It's Barca's first defeat in the Champions League group stages in over three years.