Celtic will be playing European football after Christmas despite a 1-0 Champions League defeat by Anderlecht at Parkhead.
The Hoops’ 3-0 win in Brussels on match-day two meant the visitors had to equal or better that result in the final Group B game to leapfrog the Scottish champions into a Europa League spot.
Brendan Rodgers’ side endured an uncomfortable first-half bossed by the visitors and went behind through a Jozo Simunovic own goal in the 62nd minute but managed to avoid further mishap to remain in third place.
Pieter Gerkens grabbed the ball after Jozo Simunovic (left) turned the ball past his own goalkeeper for the opener
The own goal went onto prove decisive in terms of deciding the game but Anderlecht could not find the three they needed
A teasing ball forced Simunovic to intervene but the defender failed to adjust his body in time to head clear
MATCH FACTS, TABLE AND MATCHZONE ANALYSIS
Gordon, Lustig, Simunovic, Boyata, Tierney, Brown, McGregor, Forrest, Armstrong (Rogic), Sinclair (Ntcham), Dembele (Edouard)
Bitton, Griffiths, de Vries, Ajer
Boeckx, Appiah (Bruno), Spajic, Mbodji (Goncalves), Obradovic, Dendoncker, Kums, Trebel, Gerkens (Teodorczyk), Hanni, Onyekuru
Sels, Deschacht, Beric, Harbaoui
Goals: Simunovic OG (61)
Referee: Matej Jug
Jozo Simunovic scored an own goal after a long build up from Anderlecht. For more of our Matchzone feature, click here…
After failing to win any group stage games in his first season in charge, Rodgers, yet to taste defeat by a Scottish club in 67 games, achieved the required progress at the second attempt, albeit suffering defeats home and away to Paris St Germain and Bayern Munich and in the final fixture against Anderlecht.
Celtic go into the draw for the last-32 of the Europa League which takes place in February, a spot which the Glasgow club would have taken before the group stages began.
As expected, Rodgers brought back French striker Moussa Dembele after he had recovered from an ankle knock with Simunovic, Callum McGregor, Stuart Armstrong and James Forrest making it five changes in total.
Skipper Scott Brown made his 69th appearance in the Champions League, beating the record for a Scottish player held by former Celtic and Liverpool striker Kenny Dalglish.
Anderlecht boss Hein Vanhaezebrouck had conceded the odds were heavily stacked against his side but they almost got one goal back in the third minute, Hoops keeper Craig Gordon forced into a fine save from midfielder Sven Kums who blasted in a cut-back from Henry Onyekuru.
There was nothing Craig Gordon could do as the ball was inadvertently deflected off the post into the corner
Anderlecht celebrated going ahead in the game after dominating much of the match at Celtic Park
Simunovic attempted to make amends for scoring an own goal but ultimately Celtic drew a blank at home
The Hoops dropped into the Europa League having finished the campaign in third place ahead of Anderlecht
The slick-moving visitors had immeasurably improved from their match day two defeat against the Scottish champions who were not allowed to settle into their rhythm.
In the 17th minute Adrien Trebel’s acrobatic effort from 16 yards had Gordon working again with the Anderlecht midfielder testing the Scotland keeper again with a long-range effort just before the half-hour mark.
The interval allowed Rodgers time to make adjustments, which he did do by replacing Stuart Armstrong with Olivier Ntcham and Scott Sinclair for Tom Rogic which stabilised the home side who pressed with purpose for the first time.
Belief seemed to seep slowly out of Anderlecht.
A curling shot from Celtic winger James Forrest in the 55th minute was pushed past the post by keeper Frank Boeckx, with the Belgian side surviving the corner.
Scott Brown fights Sofia Hanni (right) as the duo battle hard for the ball in a midfield with a robust challenge
Hanni bursts away from the combative Scottish stalwart as the Celtic man sets off in pursuit of his opponent
Henry Onyekuru caused problems for Brendan Rodgers’s men with his acceleration and dynamism up front
Hanni caused the home side a number of problems as he picked up possession in dangerous areas
Adrien Trebel (right) competes with Celtic’s talented young striker Moussa Dembele during the first half
Mbodji Kara advances with the ball as the Anderlecht powerhouse looks to shake off the attention of Dembele
The Parkhead fans, subdued and nervy in the first-half, began to find their voice but it was the 2,000-plus Anderlecht supporters who cheered loud and long when a cross from the right by full-back Dennis Appiah came off the back of Simunovic, under pressure from Pieter Gerkens, and past Gordon.
The Hoops defender came close to cancelling out his goal five minutes later when he fired just over the bar from 12 yards following a Hoops corner.
The goal had re-energised Anderlecht.
In the 74th minute Dembele limped off to be replaced by fellow Frenchman Odsonne Edouard, who had scored a hat-trick in the 5-1 win over Motherwell at the weekend.
The final stages were more about not conceding and there were sighs of relief among the green and white when Gordon parried a 25-yard drive from Anderlecht captain Sofiane Hanni, and with the Belgian side failing to find a second goal, the final minutes were less nervy.
Craig Gordon was called into action as the visitors enjoyed the better of the chances early on in the match
Brendan Rodgers encouraged his side from the technical area as they battled hard at Celtic Park
Uros Spajic climbs high to plant a powerful cleared header away from danger with Dembele watching on
James Forrest looks to cut a path through the Anderlecht defence as he is closed down quickly in the box
Celtic overcame Anderlecht in the away leg which proved to be decisive in their progression to the Europa League