Shakhtar Donetsk forward Mykhaylo Mudryk (L) produced a stunning shot to ensure a 1-1 draw against Celtic in the Champions League
Glasgow (AFP) - Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou is targeting a swift return to the Champions League after the Scottish champions’ hopes of European progress this season came to an end in a 1-1 draw with Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday.
Mykhailo Mudryk’s stunning strike kept the Ukrainians’ chances of reaching the last 16 alive.
Shakhtar were not helped by RB Leipzig’s 3-2 win over Real Madrid.
The defending champions are already into the last 16, but Shakhtar will join them if they beat Leipzig next week in Warsaw.
Shakhtar’s squad has been ravaged by the departure of most of their foreign players following Russia’s invasion, which has also forced them to play their home matches on neutral territory in Poland.
“This is another miracle for our young team,” said Shakhtar boss Igor Jovicevic. “We started this project three months ago. We feel like a family and we must continue to believe.”
Celtic are guaranteed to now finish bottom of the group after picking up just two points from their opening five games.
Missed chances have consistently cost the Hoops on their return to the top level of European football for the first time in five years.
“There’s some areas that we need to improve, but it’s not anything that can happen very quickly,” said Postecoglou.
“We want to be a Champions League football club and that only happens with continual presence in this competition.
“You can’t go five years without being here and then expect to come in and make an impact at this level. That’s our task. That’s our challenge.”
Celtic’s wait for a first Champions League group stage home win since 2013 goes on, but they did at least stop a record-equalling run of seven straight home defeats in the competition.
Postecoglou altered his usual formation to start Giorgos Giakoumakis alongside Kyogo Furuhashi up front.
And it paid off as Giakoumakis swept home his first European goal for the club 11 minutes before half-time.
Mudryk denied Celtic with the equaliser in a 1-1 draw when the sides last met last month and history repeated itself just before the hour mark.
The home side were left to rue giving the ball away to spark a quick Shakhtar counter, but Mudryk had plenty to do as he fired into the top corner from outside the box.
Mudryk, who has been linked with a move to Arsenal, has now scored three times in five Champions League games.
The Ukrainian international should have had an assist to his name moments later as he outpaced the Celtic defence and squared for Danylo Sikan, who somehow failed to turn the ball into an empty net.
Celtic also had chances to claim an elusive Champions League win as Kyogo fired straight at Anatoliy Trubin, Giakoumakis hit the post and Matt O’Riley fired just wide.
But Shakhtar stood firm to guarantee at least Europa League football in the new year.