Neil Lennon has given a vote of confidence to defender Steve Mouyokolo and Virgil van Dijk.
The duo played together for the first time last night in the 2-0 defeat from Shakhter Karagandy that leaves Celtic’s place in the group stage of the Champions League in jeopardy.
Shakhter’s direct approach put the centre of the Celtic defence in the spotlight with the plastic pitch adding to the difficulties but Lennon was keen to stand by his new signings.
“They did okay,” he told the Evening Times. “I can’t really point accusing fingers at them.
“I thought Virgil was unlucky not to score. He looked a threat at set-pieces.
“The only real criticism is that maybe they defended too deep at times but, overall, they did okay.”
At the final whistle Shakhter celebrated as if the tie was over with the cheering ringing in the ears of the Celtic players and management.
In the third qualifying round Shakhter won the home tie 3-0 against Skenderbeu of Albania but trailed 3-0 in the return match before scrambling through on a 5-3 aggregate.
Celtic Park next Wednesday will present the Kazak’s with a much tougher test with Lennon well up for the challenge.
“I don’t know if they think it is over,” the Celtic boss added. ”They are definitely in the ascendancy, and there is that euphoria straight after the final whistle.
“But they have to come to Glasgow, and they will have to defend well because we will come at them from the off.”
The return leg will kick off at after midnight Kazakhstan time presenting Shakhter with similar travel difficulties to those faced by Celtic yesterday.