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Edouard seals Europa place for Celts

Sarajevo 0 Celtic 1

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UEFA said the admission of fans and the capacity limit would be subject to the decision of local authorities. Photo: Reuters

UEFA said the admission of fans and the capacity limit would be subject to the decision of local authorities. Photo: Reuters

REUTERS

UEFA said the admission of fans and the capacity limit would be subject to the decision of local authorities. Photo: Reuters

Odsonne Edouard's second-half goal proved the undoing of Sarajevo and took Celtic into the group stages of the Europa League.

The Scottish champions dominated the ball in the one-legged play-off tie in Bosnia and Herzegovina without really testing home goalkeeper Vladan Kovacevic in the first half.

Celtic continued in relentless pursuit of a goal and in the 69th minute the French striker, in for injured Albian Ajeti, knocked the ball in from close after Kovacevic failed to deal with a drive from the excellent Ryan Christie.

The Parkhead side will deservedly take their place in group stage draw today.

Neil Lennon was so pleased with his side's 3-0 defeat of Hibernian at the weekend he made only one change, enforced, with Edouard replacing Ajeti.

Sarajevo continued to frustrate after the break as Celtic kept pressing.

In the 52nd minute Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer stabbed a Christie corner wide from six yards and then Elyounoussi's drive from 20 yards was saved by Kovacevic

A long-range effort from Christie in the 63rd minute just cleared the bar and Elhamed volleyed wide from a Christie corner.

Sarajevo could hardly get out of their own half although earlier defender Hrvoje Milicevic had headed a corner past the far post

However, eventually the breakthrough came with Edouard pouncing when Kovacevic fumbled a drive from Christie to steer the ball over the line from eight yards.

Rangers hit the Europa League jackpot as a 2-1 win over Galatasaray saw Steven Gerrard's men make it a hat-trick of group stage qualifications.

The Ibrox boss admitted on Thursday that his hopes of finally securing the extra midfielder he has long desired hung on whether his team could make it to the money-spinning group phase for the third year running.

And he will now hope to get the chequebook out before Monday's transfer deadline after goals from Scott Arfield and James Tavernier sealed a famous win - and a potential £10million windfall.