ASTANA: A 78th-minute goal from Leigh Griffiths secured a 1-1 draw for former European champions Celtic away to FC Astana in their Champions League preliminary round tie.
Defender Yuri Logvinenko headed the home side ahead from a corner in the 19th minute of the third qualifying round match at the noisy Astana Arena, which was just short of its 30,000-capacity.
The visitors’ makeshift central defence with European debutant Eoghan O’Connell and Efe Ambrose had to work hard with the rest of their Parkhead team-mates to prevent Astana adding to their lead.
Just when it looked like Celtic would be content enough with a narrow defeat Griffiths drilled in a shot from the edge of the box to stun the Kazakhstan champions who may rue not pressing home their advantage when they travel to Glasgow for next week’s return.
Manager Brendan Rodgers said: “It was an outstanding result. We’re disappointed with their goal but I think after that we showed wonderful mentality to keep fighting. It’s a very important result for us.
“I think we were all written off before the game, everyone was pretty clear that we would do well to come back with anything other than a loss but the players deserve an immense amount of credit, to fight and show spirit and passion in the game.
“The resilience and strength that we have built up over the course of the pre-season came into effect.”