Friday 28 October 2016

Eight of the worst nights in Celtic's European history

Published 13/07/2016 | 07:42

Rodgers’ tenure began in the worst possible way. Photo: SNS Group
Rodgers’ tenure began in the worst possible way. Photo: SNS Group

Celtic have suffered an embarrassing defeat by Lincoln Red Imps in the Champions League qualifiers.

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Here, we look back at the club's worst nights in Europe:

1) MTK Budapest 4 Celtic 0: European Cup Winners Cup, 1963-64

Celtic appeared to be cruising to their first European final after a double from Stevie Chalmers and a Jimmy Johnstone strike gave them a three-goal lead over MTK Budapest in the first leg. But, after over five months out with a serious knee injury, Hungary international Karoly Sandor produced an impromptu masterclass to help his MTK team clinch a 4-0 win in the Nep Stadium.

2) Ajax 3 Celtic 0: European Cup, 1970-71

Celtic were looking to reach a second successive European Cup final as they travelled to Amsterdam in the quarter-final - four years after winning the trophy. But Jock Stein's team were taught a lesson by one of the greatest club sides ever. With Johan Cruyff pulling the strings for the Dutch champions, Ajax ran out comfortable 3-0 winners, leaving the Hoops with an insurmountable task in the second leg.

3) SW Innsbruck 3 Celtic 0: European Cup, 1977-78

Tommy Burns had given Celtic hope of European Cup success when his 78th-minute strike earned a 2-1 first-leg win at Parkhead. But the Hoops found themselves running up a hill backwards as early as the fourth minute in Austria when the home side opened the scoring. Celtic's European hopes were ended by half-time after two further strikes from Innsbruck. To rub salt in the wound, Andy Lynch was dismissed with nine minutes left for hitting an opponent.

4) Neuchatel Xamax 5 Celtic 1: UEFA Cup 1991-92

The Swiss side stunned the Hoops with four goals inside the first 55 minutes before defender Brian O'Neil grabbed a goal back for Liam Brady's team. But a further strike from Hossan Hassan - his fourth of the game - ensured a 5-1 defeat for the Bhoys.

5) Basle 2 Celtic 0: Champions League qualifier, 2002-03

Celtic appeared to be in pole position to qualify for the lucrative Champions League group stages after a 3-1 win at Parkhead. But the Swiss team were grateful for an early away goal by Christian Gimenez before the second leg at the St Jakob Stadium. Gimenez was again on hand with a goal in the 18th minute of the second leg before Hakan Yakin scored the second four minutes later.

6) Artmedia Bratislava 5 Celtic 0: Champions League qualifier, 2005-06.

Gordon Strachan endured a disastrous start to his tenure as Celtic manager when his side slumped to a humiliating five-goal drubbing to the Slovakians. Juraj Halenar scored a hat-trick, while Blazej Vascak and Martin Mikulic claimed a goal apiece. Celtic did restore some pride in the return leg in Glasgow, but a brave 4-0 win was not enough to prevent an early European exit.

7) Legia Warsaw 4 Celtic 1: Champions League qualifier, 2014-15.

Callum McGregor gave Ronny Deila's side an early lead, but Celtic suffered a major Champions League setback thanks to a double from Miroslav Radovic. Efe Ambrose was sent off and Celtic avoided further embarrassment when the Poles missed two penalties. Celtic lost the second leg 2-0 at Murrayfield but were gifted an extraordinary reprieve when Legia inadvertently fielded a suspended player following an administrative blunder. But Deila's side could not take advantage as they lost to Maribor in the play-offs.

8) Lincoln Red Imps 1 Celtic 0: Champions League qualifier, 2016-17.

Another calamitous managerial debut as Brendan Rodgers endured an awful start to his reign. Poor defending from Ambrose allowed Lee Casciaro to score two minutes after the break as Gibraltar's semi-professional champions scored a sensational first-leg win and inflicted arguably the most embarrassing result in Celtic's history. The only positive is that Celtic have a chance to turn it around.

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