Celtic’s winless run extended to four games as they let slip a two-goal half-time lead in an engrossing Europa League stalemate in Lille.
Mohamed Elyounoussi netted an outstanding double before stand-in Celtic goalkeeper Scott Bain saved Jonathan David’s weak penalty.
But the French side roared back with goals from Zeki Celik and Jonathan Ikone to stay unbeaten this season.
Celtic hung on amid heavy pressure for their first point in Group H.
AC Milan top the section after following up victory at Celtic Park with a 3-0 home win over Sparta Prague.
While inevitably deflated not to leave with victory, the Scottish champions can take plenty of positives.
Their task looked daunting against a Lille side keeping pace with big-spending behemoth Paris St-Germain at the top of Ligue 1.
And Neil Lennon’s side had to survive a shaky start in an incident-packed first half as Bain denied Boubakary Soumare before palming over a Yusuf Yazici free-kick.
The pendulum swung as the visitors grew in belief and began to dominate. Albian Ajeti was in the thick of it. The Swiss striker had a goal correctly ruled out for offside then blazed over six yards out from a Ryan Christie cutback.
Celtic’s opener, though, was worth the wait. Ajeti punished Celik’s heavy touch on the right flank as he stole possession with a backheel flick that sent Elyounoussi racing into space. The Norwegian’s finish, curled into the far corner of the net from 25 yards, was exquisite.
His second wasn’t bad either. Jeremie Frimpong dashed down the right then picked out Elyounoussi amid a ruck of Lille players in the penalty box, with his cushioned first-time shot creeping in at the far corner.
Bain – deputising for Vasilias Barkas – denied the hosts a lifeline after Shane Duffy clipped the heels of David. The contact looked a yard outside the box, but Bain made it a moot point as he stuck out a leg to stop David’s penalty down the middle.
The keeper had earned the good fortune that came his way moments later as he spilled a simple ball into the box and Sven Botman knocked it on to the top of the crossbar.
The second half was all about survival for Celtic as Lille dominated. After centre-back Kristoffer Ajer was forced off injured, Celik snuck in at the back post to meet Adama Soumaoro’s flick-on from a corner and bundle home.
Lennon’s men had fleeting breakaways at the other end, but their lead was wiped out 15 minutes from time when Ikone’s drive deflected off Duffy.
Man of the match – Mohamed Elyounoussi
What did we learn?
Celtic are now on their longest run without victory since 2014, yet this draw may well mark a turning point. Lennon’s team looked much more like the free-flowing side of last season as they attacked with verve and flair in a thrilling first half.
And even though their lead disintegrated, Celtic dug in to make sure they didn’t leave empty handed. The return of Odsonne Edouard and Nir Bitton as substitutes after recovering from Covid-19 also strengthens Lennon’s options for a crucial run of fixtures at home and abroad.
What the stats say
- Lille are winless in their last 13 European matches (including qualifiers) on home soil (D6 L7) since August 2012.
- Away from home in the Europa League, Celtic have only managed to wins two of their 23 matches (D11 L10).
- Celtic have lost just one of their last 11 away matches in all European competition (W6 D4), going unbeaten in the last four such games.
- Lille have failed to keep a clean sheet in European competition in each of their last 13 matches, since a 0-0 draw with Everton in October 2014.
- Celtic’s Mohamed Elyounoussi has scored with three of his four shots on target in the Europa League this season.
Celtic head to Hampden Park on Sunday for a Scottish Cup semi-final against Aberdeen (14:30 BST) delayed from last season.
- 2Zeki Çelik
- 21AndréBooked at 41minsSubstituted forRenato Sanchesat 63′minutes
- 7BambaSubstituted forde Araújo Guimarães Netoat 64′minutes
- 12YaziciSubstituted forWeahat 82′minutes
- 9DavidSubstituted forYilmazat 64′minutes
- 3Embaló Djaló
- 6José Fonte
- 8da Silva Rocha
- 11de Araújo Guimarães Neto
- 18Renato Sanches
- 29BainBooked at 52mins
- 35AjerSubstituted forBittonat 53′minutes
- 93LaxaltBooked at 73mins
- 8BrownSubstituted forSoroat 81′minutes
- 17ChristieSubstituted forRogicat 81′minutes
- 21NtchamBooked at 22minsSubstituted forWelshat 82′minutes
- 27ElyounoussiBooked at 84mins
- 10AjetiBooked at 64minsSubstituted forEdouardat 64′minutes
- Aleksandar Stavrev
Match ends, Lille 2, Celtic 2.
Second Half ends, Lille 2, Celtic 2.
Corner, Lille. Conceded by Shane Duffy.
Attempt missed. Jeremie Frimpong (Celtic) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Diego Laxalt.
Foul by Luiz Araújo (Lille).
Mohamed Elyounoussi (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Corner, Lille. Conceded by Nir Bitton.
Boubakary Soumaré (Lille) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ismaila Soro (Celtic).
Mohamed Elyounoussi (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Sven Botman (Lille) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Mohamed Elyounoussi (Celtic).
Substitution, Lille. Timothy Weah replaces Yusuf Yazici.
Substitution, Celtic. Stephen Welsh replaces Olivier Ntcham.
Substitution, Celtic. Tomas Rogic replaces Ryan Christie.
Substitution, Celtic. Ismaila Soro replaces Scott Brown.
Attempt saved. Mohamed Elyounoussi (Celtic) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Callum McGregor.
Domagoj Bradaric (Lille) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Odsonne Edouard (Celtic).
Attempt saved. Boubakary Soumaré (Lille) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Yusuf Yazici.