Celtic 0-2 Barcelona: Messi double seals up group for Barca

Lionel Messi bagged two as Brendan Rodgers' side were easily beaten.

Celtic 0-2 Barcelona: Messi double seals up group for Barca
Messi celebrates with teammates (photo: Getty Images / Mike Hewitt)
Celtic
0 2
Barcelona
Celtic : Gordon; Izaguirre, Sviatcenko, Simunovic, Lustig; Brown, Armstrong, McGregor (Roberts 72'); Rogic (Bitton 64'), Sinclair (Forrest 45'), Dembele.
Barcelona: Ter-Stegen; Alba (Digne 66'), Mascherano, Pique (Marlon 72'), Roberto; Busquets, Gomes, Rakitic; Neymar (Turan 77'), Suarez, Messi.
SCORE: 0-1, Messi 24'. 0-2, Messi 55' (PEN).
REFEREE: Daniel Orsato Booked - Sviatcheno, Alba, Roberto, Neymar, Lustig, Armstrong, Rakitic.
INCIDENTS: Champions League MD5 fixture at Celtic Park.

Lionel Messi scored a brace at Barcelona wrapped up Group B of the 2016/17 Champions League by beating Celtic 2-0 at Parkhead. 

The Catalan side were in control throughout the match, with Celtic offering little attacking threat, Messi scoring either side of half-time to secure all three points, and Barcelona's place as group winners after Manchester City dropped points elsewhere. 

High-tempo, end to end start

With the home atmosphere well and truly giving them a little push forward, Celtic started the high-tempo game well, Scott Sinclair unfortunate to be stopped by the offside flag as he burst through on goal early on. 

Barcelona had chances early one too, though, and it took a wildly sliced clearance from Scott Armstrong to put the ball out for a corner as Ivan Rakitic attacked Jordi Alba's cross. From the following ball in, Andre Gomes was first to win it, forcing Craig Gordon into a good reflex save from his header. 

Messi opener crafted by Neymar

Despite being 7-0 victors against the same opposition just weeks ago, Barcelona knew that it would take a little more to unlock the door at Celtic Park, and some Neymar magic was indeed required to set Lionel Messi up for the opener after 24 minutes. 

Facing the Celtic defence up with the ball at his feet, there didn't seem to be much on for the Brazilian, only for him to scoop a lovely ball over a cluster of heads and into Messi's path, the Argentine drilling low past Craig Gordon. 

Celtic responded fairly well as Moussa Dembele had a powerful effort from the left well saved by Marc Andre Ter-Stegen. However, it could, and should, have been 2-0 before the interval, Gordon again required to intervene as he flung an arm out to stop Luis Suarez from adding to Barcelona's lead when presented with a free header inside the area.

If Celtic were going to come back into the game, they'd have to make good of any chances they could muster, something that Brendan Rodgers' side failed to do at the start of the second half.

Callum McGregor found room on the edge of the area, but sent a weak effort into Ter-Stegen's palms, whilst Moussa Dembele's free header from a James Forrest cross went straight at the German 'keeper. 

Clear penalty puts game out of Celtic's reach

They were made to pay for those misses just minutes later, Emilio Izaguirre conceding a penalty as he dragged Luis Suarez down in the area. Messi stepped up, converting down the middle for his ninth of the group stage thus far. 

Things got a little feisty after that, as the attacking football was reigned in somewhat, Neymar and Mikael Lustig squaring up after the former had a little kick out at young substitute Patrick Roberts. Both were booked, Neymar substituted shortly after.

Suarez was left wondering how he wasn't part of the scoring, missing another golden opportunity with just seven minutes left. Messi hussled his way through the defence with some excellent footwork, eventually sliding the ball across to Suarez, who could only crash the ball towards the post. 

That didn't matter though, Barcelona crusing to victory, four clear of City at the top with a game left. Celtic are out completely, no European football for them after Christmas.