Sunday 23 October 2016

Imp-ish display leaves Rodgers' Celtic humiliated

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers.
Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers.

Brendan Rodgers' first game as Celtic boss ended in humiliation last night as his Hoops side were humbled 1-0 by Lincoln Red Imps in in the first leg of their second Champions League qualifier at the Victoria stadium.

The Parkhead side laboured in the searing heat of the goalless first 45 minutes and were then stunned when Lee Casciaro, who had scored Gibraltar's first international goal against Scotland at Hampden in 2015, sensationally put the part-timers ahead in the 47th minute.

Hoops striker Leigh Griffiths hit the woodwork twice as the Scottish champions battled for their dignity, but, buoyed by their stunning breakthrough, the home side held out for a result which ranks as the most embarrassing in Celtic's European history. The return game at Celtic Park next week should still be a formality, but Rodgers' tenure has begun in the worst possible way.

In the 31st minute Moussa Dembele headed in skipper Scott Brown's free-kick, but was adjudged to have fouled keeper Raul Navas on the line.

Five minutes from the break Raul Navas pushed a powerful drive from Dembele past the post for a corner which came to nothing before the Celtic striker fired an angled-drive wide.

The match exploded into life two minutes after the restart, following a Navas save from Griffiths.

Casciaro took advantage of Ambrose's hesitation when chasing a long Walker pass to stab the ball past Craig Gordon from 12 yards to widespread disbelief.

Moments later, as Celtic reeled in a state of shock, Lincoln midfielder Antonio Calderon fired just over the bar.

Celtic stepped up the pressure in the final 10 minutes as Navas saved from Nadir Ciftci, who subsequently missed the target with a header before the final whistle, after four added minutes, confirmed the Hoops' embarrassment as the Lincoln players and supporters celebrated with justifiable pride.

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