Or can Celtic finally restore some semblance of order to proceedings and bring the Kazakhs' dream of Champions League football to an end?
All will be revealed at Parkhead next Wednesday when nerves will be on edge in both camps, and in every stand.
Trailing 2-0 from the first leg away from home was not in anyone's script, least of all manager Neil Lennon's.
When the draw was made, the logistics of getting to Astana appeared to be the biggest concern, not the team lying in wait for them when their luxury charter finally got them there.
Not that anyone was complacent. Any side which stands between you and a place in the group stage of the Champions League must be treated with respect, simply because of the repercussions if you fall flat on your face.
Yet, as the dust settles after the first leg of the 10 play-offs, Celtic appear to be the most vulnerable of all the seeds to being absent when the draw for the group stage is made a week tomorrow.
Of course, a two-goal deficit is not insurmountable, especially against a side which was 3-0 down after just half- an-hour when they went to Albania to play Skenderbeu in the previous round.
That made the tie level on aggregate, but the miners from Karagandy dug deep to score twice and book their place in the play-off.
They also scored away to BATE Borisov in their opening qualification match, so they will travel to Glasgow believing they can get the goal which will make progressing to the group stage even tougher for Celtic.
On the evidence of Tuesday, Celtic are by far the better team. However, Shakhter carry with them that element of good fortune, and that is always difficult to legislate against.
They are big, powerful and united. They also have significant weaknesses, not least when defending crosses and set-pieces into the area.
But they lead 2-0, and it will all be about their bottle at Parkhead.
The Celtic players owe their fans - especially the brave and determined souls who made it all the way to Astana - a performance.
It will not make up for what happened, but it would allow everyone to look forward and not spend the next 11 months until the qualifiers resume regretting what should have been.
The Europa League is no consolation, either in terms of prestige or finance, and dropping down would have a significant impact on the process to bring in another couple of quality players, especially a striker.
The practise of playing Georgios Samaras as the point of the attack in European away games simply does not work.
The Greek international is only half the player with his back to goal, and the dynamism, running power and, most importantly, goals, he has brought to the team on big European stages is seen at its best when he is playing in a wide position.
However, the window of opportunity to bring in another striker for the play-off has now closed, and Lennon must go with what he already has.
The Hoops boss does have enough in the locker to turn this around, but everyone selected on Wednesday has to play to their very best.
Scoring first and keeping a clean sheet will provide the platform for the result they need to progress. But they will have to avoid becoming panicked if that opening goal does not arrive immediately, and will have to play more as a team than they did in Astana.
Joe Ledley was thrown in at the deep end when he first arrived at the club three years ago, helpless as Braga then Utrecht hit rookie boss Lennon with a couple of heavy blows to his solar plexus.
The Welshman believes everyone involved at the club has moved on significantly from those dark days, and is trying to keep calm ahead of next week's crunch game.
Ledley said: "I have been in worse situations than this in my career. But we are 2-0 down and, on another night, I don't think that would have happened with the amount of chances we had.
"We completely dominated them in possession as well. It was just one of those games where we were really unlucky.
"Now we need to make sure we keep a clean sheet at Celtic Park next week. We conceded sloppy goals on Tuesday, and we need to work on that, which we will.
"We kept the ball pretty well, and created a lot of chances which we should have taken."
Ledley reckons the atmosphere will be a factor, and, with so much on the line, expects the Celtic support to do their bit.
"From what we have learned, Shakhter do not travel too well," he said.
"Our fans are going to be behind us, and their players are not going to be used to a crowd like that and the atmosphere which they generate at our place, especially on Champions League nights.
"Much more experienced players than theirs have struggled to deal with that."
However, the Celtic players must give the fans something to cheer and to hold on to, and Ledley said: "Hopefully, we can dominate right from the start and attack them from the first whistle.
"We tried to do that in the first leg and we got off to a good start. In the first 10 minutes, we could have got two goals.
"Then, in the second half, Emilio Izaguirre got clean through but shot over the bar and James Forrest came in with a header, but their keeper managed to save it.
"On another day, at least one of those would have gone in and we would have had an away goal."
Lennon agrees with the midfielder, and the manager retains belief his players can bounce back and retrieve the situation.
He said: "I think we have plenty of football left in us to win this tie. I'm sure of it."
Lennon insisted that Shakhter had not been underestimated, and added: "It's galling to lose to any team.
"I wouldn't say we've missed an opportunity because there is still a bit to go in the tie.
"But I am disappointed in that score because we had the majority of the play and some clear-cut chances.
"I just felt the decision- making in the last third was poor. You look at the Izaguirre chance and that makes it 1-1 and puts us in the driving seat.
"But it's gone, so we have to regroup and get ready for next week."