And there were similar doubts about his second, turned in on the rebound after Celtic keeper Artur Boruc could not hold Cristiano Ronaldo's free-kick.
Wayne Rooney emphasised the gulf in class between the sides with a 20-yard shot on the turn with 14 minutes left.
United are now sitting pretty at the top of group E and on course to qualify for the knockout stages, but Villarreal's win against Aalborg leaves Celtic with an uphill task to emerge from the group phase.
United lost Rio Ferdinand with a groin injury, but Ronaldo kept his place despite speculation that he might be rested and he played his part in a vibrant first-half display from Sir Alex Ferguson's side.
Ferguson made a double change over the hour, sending on Carlos Tevez and Wes Brown for Berbatov and Gary Neville.
And the argentine got his chance to score with a 25-yard shot that was deflected just inches wide.
It was a fitting flourish to another outstanding display by Rooney as United continue to move ominously into top gear.
Van der Sar, Neville (Brown 59), Evans, Vidic, O'Shea, Ronaldo (Park 82), Fletcher, Anderson, Nani, Berbatov (Tevez 60), Rooney.
Goals: Berbatov 30, 51, Rooney 76.
Referee: Frank De Bleeckere (Belgium)
Man-of-the-Match: Wayne Rooney
Source: BBC Sports
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