NEITHER Celtic nor RB Leipzig could stand accused of being scared to take risks, but after a crazy game in the Red Bull Arena, it was the Germans who reaped the rewards to haul themselves back into Group F.

Celtic will be left with a huge feelings of regret from a match in which both sides contrived to hand the other numerous gilt-edged opportunities. In the end, even with two goals disallowed by VAR for offside, Leipzig managed to keep it together just enough to come out on top of an encounter that had just about everything, and ultimately sent Celtic bottom of the section.

Celtic have lost 26 of their 32 away matches now in the Champions League, so the defeat in itself wasn’t exactly unexpected. Neither was the concession of three goals, given the personnel issues they had at the back coming into the match, and the considerable one that was inflicted upon them during it as Callum McGregor limped off with a knee injury.

And yet, Celtic had shown resolve to come back from the blow of falling behind to a Christopher Nkunku goal, with Jota striking at the start of the second half to restore parity and belief that Ange Postecoglou’s side could take something from a Leipzig side that always looked likely to offer up a chance.

A double from Andre Silva, the first resulting from an awful error by Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart, soon put those notions to bed though, and now Celtic must do to RB Leipzig in Glasgow what was done to them here if they are to have hopes of reaching the knockout stages.  

When the teamsheets dropped, the scale of the task facing Celtic was clear, from both line-ups.

Postecoglou was of course without his first-choice centre-back partnership of Cameron Carter-Vickers and Carl Starfelt, so Mortiz Jenz and Stephen Welsh were tasked with keeping out the likes of Nkunku and Timo Werner. A feat that proved beyond them.

There were some early warnings for Celtic as RB Leipzig cut through their backline like a hot knife through butter on two occasions, Nkunku firing just wide with the second of those chances.

In saying that, the hosts didn’t look too assured at the back themselves, and Celtic almost picked them apart as a lovely disguised ball from Reo Hatate nearly had Matt O’Riley in on goal, before the ball was scrambled clear from Kyogo.

The errors kept coming at both ends, and a huge one from Leipzig keeper Peter Gulasci almost saw Celtic hit the front as he sclaffed a clearance to Jota, with the ball eventually breaking for Hatate. Gulasci injured himself in the process, seeming to twist his knee in the turf, but the Celtic midfielder couldn’t convert as the Leipzig number one lay prone on the turf. That was the end of his evening, with back-up keeper Janis Blaswich coming on.

VAR then rode to Celtic’s rescue as Mohamed Simakan played in Nkunku all too easily, with the forward clipping a delightful finish over the onrushing Hart. As the players waited to kick off again though, the screens indicated that Nkunku had been a whisker offside.

Celtic then had a flurry of action around the Leipzig goal, as the largely ineffective Daizen Maeda’s cross from the right was headed towards the top corner by Kyogo and palmed away well by Blaswich.

Leipzig were looking dicey at the back, and Hatate then fed on another errant pass to slide Kyogo in, with his shot being deflected inches wide.

Ironically, during this spell of Celtic domination, they were undone from the resultant corner.

McGregor lost a 50/50 at edge of the Leipzig area with Xaver Schlager, and suddenly Celtic were wide open. The captain desperately scrambled back to retrieve the situation, but his reward was a cruel one, as his tackle on Silva inadvertently poked the ball through for Nkunku to latch onto it, round Hart and slot into the net.

To make matters worse for Celtic and McGregor, he then pulled up a couple of minutes later holding his knee, which may have opened up in the challenge with Schlager that led to the goal. He tried to soldier on manfully, but was forced to admit defeat  to the injury before the interval. Oliver Abildgaard was the man who attempted to fill his big boots, and ultimately struggled to do so.

A goal down and their captain down at the interval they may have been, but there was enough in the first half to provide encouragement to Celtic as they looked to turn things around in the second half.

And minutes after the restart, they had even more reason to believe.

An over-confident flick from Werner in midfield only found Hatate, who instantly fed the ball forward for Kyogo to charge into the area. The forward kept his composure to find the supporting run  of Jota, and the winger slotted the ball expertly back across Blaswich and into the net to send the 3000 Celtic fans in the far corner wild.

Leipzig came within inches of retaking the lead as some fabulous one-touch football put Szoboszlai in, but the Hungarian was desperately unlucky to see his clipped attempted finish rebound off Hart’s right-hand post.

He was even more unfortunate moments later, as he picked up the ball 25 yards out and blasted past Hart, only for VAR to intervene again in Celtic’s favour as Silva was adjudged to have been in the keeper’s eyeline in an offside position as he ducked to avoid the ball.

No sooner had they been handed that reprieve than Celtic gifted RB Leipzig a goal though, as Hart had a nightmare to allow Silva to go from zero to hero. The experienced keeper tried to pass the ball to Greg Taylor, but succeeded only in finding Szoboszlai, who played the Portuguese international in on goal. He tucked the ball in off the post, and there was to be no let-off for the Scottish champions on this occasion.

Celtic were chasing the game even more now, and leaving still bigger gaps at the back as a result. They were picked off once more, and killed off, as a long diagonal from Nkunku picked out the run of Simakan, and his first-time cross allowed Silva to tap home at the back stick.

It was night that had promised Celtic so much, but with the defeat and the injury to McGregor, may end up a costly one.