An experimental Hoops side with seven changes from last weekend’s win over Motherwell found themselves three goals behind after only 19minutes in the Group C dead rubber as Nikica Jelavic grabbed a double before strike partner Hamdi Salihi’s goal threatened a rout.
However, Celtic refused to buckle completely and began a thrilling comeback when striker Marc-Antoine Fortune scored before the break.
The former Nancy frontman doubled his tally in the 67th minute before Paul McGowan, making his first start of the season, drove in a stoppage-time leveller to keep Celtic in third place.
“I didn’t learn anything about the players that I didn’t know,” Mowbray said.
“The last 80 minutes epitomises our club. We needed to react and be positive in adversity and we did just that. We showed what our spirit was all about.
“The players’ desire to get back in to the game and really, the Celtic spirit, was there to be seen. We kept playing football and creating chances and worked our way back into the game. We ultimately got some reward but the players are disappointed that we didn’t score a few more goals.”
Celtic and Rapid both dropped out of the competition but Mowbray insisted his players showed enough to suggest they could hold their own in the Champions League if they qualify for the tournament next season.
RAPID VIENNA: Hedl, Dober (Trimmel 30), Soma, Patocka, Katzer, Hoffmann, Kulovits, Boskovic, Kavlak (Drazan 59), Salihi (Ildiz 78), Jelavic.
CELTIC: Boruc, Caddis, Loovens, McManus, Wilson, Flood, N’Guemo, Crosas, McGinn (Carey 77), Fortune (Killen 90), McGowan.
Referee: R Malek (Poland).