Celtic's hopes of progressing to the quarter-finals of the Champions League were ended in clinical fashion last night as Juventus booked their safe passage through to the last eight with a comfortable victory.
After Celtic's 3-0 defeat in the first leg in Glasgow, goals from Alessandro Matri and Fabio Quagliarella separated the sides in rain-lashed Turin. However, in the final analysis, Celtic can only look at their European campaign in a positive light.
The Hoops won two qualifiers against HJK Helsinki and Helsingborg, before finishing second in Group G to Barcelona –whom they famously beat at Celtic Park –at the expense of Benfica and Spartak Moscow. Celtic's manager, Neil Lennon, will have another crack at it next year and, although they will have to negotiate three qualifiers, his players will be all the better for this season's continental experiences.
"I hope the players have learnt a lot and move on with their careers. I am very proud to be manager in this arena, and hope the young guys blossom from this experience," he said.
<-Click image left for gallery
"We will see what the summer brings but there will be players who want to progress their careers elsewhere. We want to bring in young players."
The former Celtic captain had travelled to Italy looking for at least a win and made four changes to his side. And despite the ear-splitting noise inside the ultra-modern Juventus stadium, at first Celtic did not appear intimidated by the task in front of them.
Joe Ledley saw his drive whistle just past Gianluigi Buffon's left-hand post after 21 minutes but any remote chance of a comeback disappeared when Juventus took the lead.Quagliarella's low drive from 16 yards was parried by Fraser Forster, but Matri was first to the rebound to knock the ball into the net.
Efe Ambrose replaced Victor Wanyama for the start of the second half and within six minutes right-back Adam Matthews was carried off on a stretcher after appearing to injure his hamstring, his place taken by James Forrest. The tie was finally settled 25 minutes from time when Andrea Pirlo's pass found the tireless Arturo Vidal and when he squared to Quagliarella the Juve striker tapped into an empty net.
Georgios Samaras fired over the bar from the edge of the box with eight minutes remaining when a goal might have been just reward for Celtic for their efforts over the two games.
Juventus (3-1-4-2): Buffon; Barzagli, Marrone, Bonucci; Pirlo (Giaccherini, 69); Padoin, Vidal (Isla, 67), Pogba, Peluso (Asamoah, 59); Matri, Quagliarella. Substitutes not used Storari, Chiellini, Giovinco, Vucinic.
Celtic (4-3-2-1): Forster; Matthews (Forrest, 52), Wilson, Kayal, Izaguirre; Wanyama (Ambrose, 46), Ledley, Mulgrew; Commons (Nouioui, 73), Samaras; Hooper. Substitutes not used Zaluska, McGeouch, Miku, Stokes.
Referee F Aydinus (Turk).