THIS time the only shame was that the game had to end.
Celtic and Atletico now have a European tie they can both be proud of.
Half a century on from an infamous clash memorable for sheer brutality, this was a night when the football on show left its mark.
It was just unfortunate for Brendan Rodgers’ side that their performance didn’t make the dent they hoped for on Group E.
The Spanish side did have a man sent off and it ended in a draw like it did in 1974.
But some 50 years on and there was no outrage or fisticuffs in the tunnel. Just respect.
Celtic couldn’t have dreamed of a better start with Kyogo firing them ahead inside four minutes.
But Atletico hit back through Antoine Griezmann.
Luis Palma then put Rodgers team ahead again before Alvaro Morata levelled early in the second half.
It was just a thrilling end to end European clash you couldn’t take your eyes off for a split second.
The backdrop to all of this was a defiant show of support to Palestine by thousands of Celtic supporters.
The club urged their fans not to politicise this European match for fear of UEFA sanctions.
But their appeal fell on deaf ears.
There was simply no stopping them.
Once the game got going it was the same for Rodgers’ side as they stormed into an early lead.
Kyogo scored the opening goal against Lazio when he combined brilliantly with the Matt O’Riley.
Here the pair linked up again to stun the Spanish.
O’Riley is enjoying such a rich vein of form right now that he’s clearly oozing confidence.
His one-touch pass into Kyogo’s feet was sensational with the little striker cleverly dinking his finish beyond goalkeeper Jan Oblak.
It was such a dream start for Scotland’s champions.
From that joy, thought, soon came tears.
Reo Hatate was distraught just moments later when a pulled hamstring meant his night was cruelly over.
It’s an injury he’s had before and his pain and frustration was written all over his face.
Paulo Bernardo came on as Hatate’s replacement with the on-loan Benfica midfielder given an unexpected opportunity to show he belongs at this level.
It was asking a lot with the start of the game so fast and frantic.
And it just didn’t let up.
Atletico made it 1-1 after being awarded a penalty with 23 minutes on the clock.
Greg Taylor felt harshly treated when the German ref ruled Nahuel Molina had been clipped inside the box. But in truth the Scotland defender really could have little complaint.
Joe Hart was the one who was really unfortunate.
He threw himself low to his left to make a magnificent save to keep out Griezmann’s spot-kick.
But the ball came right back to the fabulous Frenchman who made no mistake with his second attempt.
Celtic could have let their heads drop there and then.
Atletico had a spell where they really looked the part.
But there was a resilience to Rodgers’ side which saw them handle that set-back and shrug it off.
Palma’s goal to make it 2-1 came just three minutes after the visitors drew level.
And what a strike it was.
Daizen Maeda had switched wings to the left and he did tremendously well to fire a ball into the box.
Belgian star Axel Witsel tripped over his own feet and fell over.
But while Palma still had so much to do to beat the goalkeeper he drilled a shot which beat Oblak all hands up.
The home support went wild again with the noise deafening.
It was turning into an incredible game of football with two top teams giving it everything they had.
The ref was standing for no nonsense either, booking three Atletico players Rodrigo De Paul, Javier Galan and Molina before the interval.
Before then there were other chances at both ends.
In 35 minutes O’Riley came close to volleying a third for Celtic but the keeper made a save this time.
Celtic themselves breathed a huge sigh of relief when the flag went up to disallow an Atletico goal for off-side.
The big question was whether Rodgers’ side could maintain their level of performance for the second half having put so much into the first period.
By 53 minutes it was beginning to look like they wouldn’t.
Atletico made it 2-2 when half-time sub Marcos Llorente crossed from the right to set up Morata to score.
The Spain star – who scored against Scotland in Seville – stooped at the back post to guide an improvised header past Hart.
With so much time left to play it seemed highly unlikely the scoring was going to end there.
The longer the second half wore on the more weary Celtic looked.
On the hour mark Rodgers decided to try something new in a bid to turn things Celtic’s way.
Winger Palma was subbed with centre-half Nat Phillips thrown on as the home side switched to a back three.
But the tiredness in the men in green and white was there for all to see.
Atletico almost won it in 75 minutes, sub Angel Correa turning on a sixpence inside the box and smashing a shot Hart blocked with his legs.
With eight minutes left to play, though, and a red card gave Celtic fresh hope.
De Paul – booked in the first-half – swiped down O’Riley with a lazy challenge in the middle of the park to be sent off.
Suddenly Rodgers’ side had an extra man for the closing stages as the home support urged them to push for a winner.
But it wasn’t to be as they had to settle for a point for their efforts.
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