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Barcelona 7-0 Celtic: Magical Messi leaves Hoops stunned

Barcelona 7-0 Celtic

By Ronnie Esplin

Published 14/09/2016

Barcelona's Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez gestures after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Celtic FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 13, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
Barcelona's Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez gestures after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Celtic FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 13, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
Friends reunited: Former Liverpool players Kolo Toure of Celtic and Luis Suarez of Barcelona embrace after the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Barcelona and Celtic FC at Camp Nou on September 13, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Barcelona's Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez shoots to score a goal beside Celtic's Irish defender Eoghan O'Connell (L) during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Celtic FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 13, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENELLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images
Barcelona's Luis Suarez reacts during a Champions League, Group C soccer match between Barcelona and Celtic, at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 13: Luis Suarez of Barcelona celebretes scoring his sides sixth goal with team mates during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Barcelona and Celtic FC at Camp Nou on September 13, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 13: Luis Suarez of Barcelona celebretes scoring his sides sixth goal with team mates during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Barcelona and Celtic FC at Camp Nou on September 13, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Barcelona's Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez (C) is congratulated by Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar (R) and Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (L) after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Celtic FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 13, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENELLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images
Barcelona's midfielder Andres Iniesta celebrates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Celtic FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 13, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENELLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images
Barcelona's Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez (L) controls the ball prior to scoring a goal beside Celtic's Irish defender Eoghan O'Connell (L) during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Celtic FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 13, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENELLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images
Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar celebrates a goal during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Celtic FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 13, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENELLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images
Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar walks to shoot a corner kick during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Celtic FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 13, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / JOSEP LAGOJOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images
Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during a Champions League, Group C soccer match between Barcelona and Celtic, at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 13: Neymar of Barcelona celebrates scoring his sides third goal during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Barcelona and Celtic FC at Camp Nou on September 13, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar looks on during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Celtic FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 13, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / JOSEP LAGOJOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images
BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 13: Neymar of Barcelona celebrates scoring his sides third goal during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Barcelona and Celtic FC at Camp Nou on September 13, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi walks after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Celtic FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 13, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / JOSEP LAGOJOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images
Celtic's French forward Moussa Dembele (top) vies with Barcelona's German goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen (R) during their Champions League football match between FC Barcelona and Celtic CF at the Camp Nou in Barcelona on September 13, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENELLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images
Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (up) celebrates a goal with teammate Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Celtic FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 13, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / JOSEP LAGOJOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images
Barcelona's German goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen (L) is congratuled by teammates after stopping a penalty during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Celtic FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 13, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENELLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images
Barcelona's defender Gerard Pique (R) and other teammates congratulate Barcelona's German goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen (2nd L) after stopping a penalty kick during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Celtic FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 13, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENELLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images
Barcelona supporters wave Estelada or Catalan pro-independence flags distributed by separatists groups ahead of the Champions League, Group C soccer match between Barcelona and Celtic, at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Barcelona's Lionel Messi, right, walks past his teammates Neymar, center, and Luis Suarez after scoring his side's first goal during a Champions League, Group C soccer match between Barcelona and Celtic, at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Barcelona's Lionel Messi, left, celebrates with Barcelona's Neymar after scoring the opening goal during a Champions League, Group C soccer match between Barcelona and Celtic, at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Barcelona's Lionel Messi, left, celebrates with Barcelona's Neymar after scoring the opening goal during a Champions League, Group C soccer match between Barcelona and Celtic, at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Barcelona's Lionel Messi, left, takes on Celtic's Erik Sviatchenko during a Champions League, Group C soccer match between Barcelona and Celtic, at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Celtic's Moussa Dembele, top, jumps above Barcelona's Gerard Pique during a Champions League, Group C soccer match between Barcelona and Celtic, at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Celtic's Scott Brown back heads the ball during a Champions League, Group C soccer match between Barcelona and Celtic, at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic, left, and Celtic's Moussa Dembele vie for the ball during a Champions League, Group C soccer match between Barcelona and Celtic, at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Celtic's players warm up before their Champions League football match against FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 13, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 13: Supporters enjoy the pre match atmosphere prior to the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Barcelona and Celtic FC at Camp Nou on September 13, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 13: Supporters enjoy the pre match atmosphere prior to the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Barcelona and Celtic FC at Camp Nou on September 13, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 13: Supporters arrive prior to the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Barcelona and Celtic FC at Camp Nou on September 13, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 13: Supporters arrive prior to the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Barcelona and Celtic FC at Camp Nou on September 13, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 13: Supporters arrive prior to the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Barcelona and Celtic FC at Camp Nou on September 13, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 13: A general view as Celtic players walk on the pitch prior to the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Barcelona and Celtic FC at Camp Nou on September 13, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 13: Emilio Izaguirre (L) and Jozo Simunovic of Celtic walk on the pitch prior to the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Barcelona and Celtic FC at Camp Nou on September 13, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 13: A general view prior to the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Barcelona and Celtic FC at Camp Nou on September 13, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 13: A dog and his handler perform a search prior to the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Barcelona and Celtic FC at Camp Nou on September 13, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Lionel Messi helped give Celtic another harsh Champions League lesson with a hat-trick as Barcelona thrashed the Hoops 7-0 in their Group C opener at the Nou Camp.

This was the Hoops' first game back in the group stage of the competition for three seasons, their most recent match ending in a 6-1 defeat at the same venue, and it was another chastening evening for the Scottish champions.

Brazilian star Neymar set up Messi for the opener in the third minute and the Barca captain added a second from close range in the 27th minute after Parkhead striker Moussa Dembele had a penalty saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Neymar added a third five minutes into the second half with a wonderful free-kick, substitute Andres Iniesta scored with an even better volley and then Messi tapped in for his third with half an hour to play.

As Celtic continued to chase shadows Luis Suarez grabbed a double to give Celtic their heaviest European defeat.

Hoops boss Brendan Rodgers' bid to contain Barca included giving a debut to Costa Rica defender Cristian Gamboa, signed from West Brom at the end of the transfer window, and the 26-year-old was one of two changes in a 5-4-1 starting formation, with wide-man Patrick Roberts also coming in.

After scoring a hat-trick in the 5-1 win over Rangers, and in the absence of injured Leigh Griffiths, Dembele was again asked to lead the line.

An under-strength Barca side had lost 2-1 at home to Alaves in La Liga on Saturday.

However, most of Luis Enrique's big stars returned with Messi, Neymar and Suarez starting together for the first time this season.

In his pre-match press conference Ulsterman Rodgers had waxed lyrical about Suarez, whom he bossed at Liverpool.

However, it was Messi who drew first blood when he raced on to a clever pass from Neymar and from an angle drove high past Dorus de Vries and into the far corner.

Unsurprisingly Barcelona dominated possession, probing the Parkhead rearguard with familiar patience.

However, the visitors were dramatically handed the chance to level when Scott Sinclair raced forward and played in Dembele who went down as he tried to go round Ter Stegen with referee Ovidiu Hategan pointing to the spot.

The German goalkeeper dived to his right to push Dembele's shot away for a corner which the home side survived.

The award appeared to irk Barca and three minutes later Messi and Neymar walked through the Celtic defence with the Argentina star knocking the ball over the line from about three yards out.

Hoops left-back Kieran Tierney cleared an Ivan Rakitic shot off the line and De Vries saved from Neymar as the home side pushed relentlessly for more goals.

Sinclair, who looked a threat, had the ball in the net at the other end but the flag had already gone up.

The second half was even more painful for the small band of Hoops fans high in the stands.

Iniesta replaced Rakitic and only four minutes had elapsed when Messi was fouled by Nir Bitton, giving Neymar the opportunity from 25 yards to stick the ball in the top corner leaving De Vries clutching air.

If that strike was good then Iniesta's volley from Neymar's cross was remarkable in its execution.

Moments later Messi slid in a pass from Suarez for number five before Neymar picked out the advancing former Liverpool player with a fine chip over the Hoops defence, and he turned and thrashed the ball high into the net.

Celtic were demoralised. Messi hit the post before setting up Suarez for the seventh goal which ended a night of torment for the Glasgow club.

BARCELONA: Ter Stegen, Sergi Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Jordi Alba, Rakitic (Iniesta, 46 mins), Busquets (Rafinha, 61 mins), Andre Gomes, Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar. Unused subs: Cillessen, Turan, Mascherano, Alcacer, Digne.

Celtic: De Vries, Lustig, Toure, Sviatchenko (O'Connell, 68 mins), Tierney, Roberts (Armstrong, 68 mins), Gamboa, Bitton (McGregor, 76 mins), Brown, Sinclair, Dembele. Unused subs: Gordon, Izaguirre, Rogic, Forrest.

Referee: Ovidiu Alin Hategan (Romania)

Man of the match: Lionel Messi

Match rating: 8/10

Belfast Telegraph

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