CELTIC may not have proved themselves to be a Champions League team in Baku but they did enough on a predictably nervous night to qualify for the play-off stages and are now only two games away from the group stages.
Qarabag were all we expected in this second-leg. Good on the ball, dangerous on the break but not particularly competent at scoring goals. They might think this was one that got away as Celtic did a lot of defending, but at the same time they created little in the way of clear-cut chances.
It was a strange, big and ultimately enjoyable night and for Ronny Deila who was delighted to get out the way. He wants his team to prove they can cut it in the Champions League. They didn’t quite manage that, however, they at least will get the opportunity to do so.
But some things will have to change.
Once again Nadir Ciftci started at the expense of Leigh Griffiths who posed for selfies with a few supporters many hours before the game. The inevitable resultant tweet from the lucky fan was that Griffiths would not start and he wasn’t happy about it.
The Turk toiled all night, although if you wanted to be fair then he mostly chased the ball or had to control on chest with his marker at best a  milli­metre away from him. But it didn’t work. Again. Deila got away it. He is going to have to change this tactic.
The atmosphere crackled inside the Tofiq Bahramov Stadium from a good hour before kick-off with the 200 or so Celtic supporters tucked away in a corner easily drowned out by the large partisan home crowd. At least they had something to sing about at the end.
From the start you could see that Celtic would play a lot of long balls to Ciftci in an attempt to bypass the pitch.  Qarabag also went long far more often than they did in Glasgow.
Not much happened in the opening exchanges. Any pass played forward by either side had too much pace on it. Then on 17 minutes Qarabag carved out the game’s first real opportunity and proved rather hopeless at taking it.
A corner was won when Emilio Izaguirre blocked a cross from Alharbi El Jadeyaui. The set-piece, taken by Richard Almelda, was sent to the edge of the box to Rashad Sadygov who Celtic had utterly forgotten about, but he totally scuffed his shot. He would probably blame the pitch.
The officials were happy to let a few meaty challenges go without mention. Swedish referee Martin Strombergsson seemingly oblivious to what a foul was. One or two on the Celtic players were definite free-kicks. This would have concerned Deila on the bench.
Not as much as when on 24 minutes, Qarabag attacked down the right flank through the dangerous El Jadeyaoul, he crossed, Craig Gordon came off his line and uncharacteristically flapped at the ball, which was just enough to put off Rydell Poepon who looked set to score with a header.
Then five minutes later, Gordon was himself again as he pulled off a superb save. Gary Mackay-Steven went  looking for a foul at one end, which he didn’t get, and in a matter of seconds the ball zipped between Qarabag players with pace and precision. Celtic were stretched, Reynaldo passed to Almelda outside the box and his shot would have gone in had Gordon not dived at full stretch to his right. It was a superb piece of goalkeeping.
Van Dijk had to clear when Dani had the ball at his feet inside the box then Boyata cleared over his head from the six-yard line with Reynaldo ready to pounce. Then on 37 minutes, Van Dijk, who had a terrific night, did enough to make Poepon send his volley over from 15 yards. Nir Bitton was brilliant once more – superb in possession and solid at the back. His confidence is so high that a few minutes before the interval, he attempted to catch Qarabag keeper Ibrahim Sehic off his line with a shot from the centre circle. It wasn’t a million miles from a goal as well.
Deila had to do something about the centre of the park where Qarabag’s players were awarded far too much time and space. This pattern continued in the second-half.  
El Jadeyaoui may wear the number 67 on his back, but the Qarabag midfielder was determined to hurt Celtic. His curling shot on 56 minutes, was one Gordon was always going to save but at least the effort was on target.
A few minutes later, Celtic entered Qarabag territory. Armstrong passed to Stefan Johansen who allowed the ball to go through his legs for Ciftci which would have been a clever move had the Turk not been on another page altogether. Armstrong then went on his own with a shot from an angle just past the hour that was always going over.
Johansen took a yellow for the team on 64 minutes for a foul on Poepon when danger threatened. It did again five minutes later when substitute Afran Ismayilov found El Jadeyaoui in space – his shot blocked well by Boyata.
With eight minutes to go, Armstrong set-up Johansen for a clear shot on goal which he put wide from inside the box. Then James Forest ran past five and a goal was denied because his cutback to Kris Commons was blocked.
However, Celtic are almost where they want to be and their supporters can come out from behind the sofa until the next time.