Trouble in Paradise as Celtic crash out

Champions League Play-Off Second Leg

Trouble in Paradise as Celtic crash out

Celtic dramatically crashed out of the Champions League for the second time this season with a 1-0 play-off defeat by Maribor at Parkhead taking the visitors through 2-1 on aggregate.

The Hoops were beaten 6-1 on aggregate by Legia Warsaw in the third qualifying round but were reinstated after the Polish club were effectively thrown out by Uefa for fielding an ineligible player in the second leg at Murrayfield.

They didn’t take their lucky break though and were beaten last night.

Celtic midfielder Stefan Johansen said last night: “We weren’t good enough. Everybody’s disappointed. We just weren’t good enough.

“We had a chance today but we couldn’t take it. We need to be better as a team.”

Confident following their 1-1 draw in Slovenia last week, the Scottish champions were booed off at half-time following 45 minutes of struggle. The introduction of Kris Commons at the start of the second half for Beram Kayal saw a vast improvement.

Maribor were pinned back in their own half and in the 55th minute they enjoyed some fortune when Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor hit the bar from Anthony Stokes’ cutback.

Commons had the crowd on their feet in the 65th minute with a left-footed drive from 30 yards which just cleared the bar, before Adam Matthews replaced Jo Inge Berget.

But Parkhead was stunned when Maribor took the lead, when Tavares’ shot appeared to take a deflection over Gordon into the net.

In the desperate last stages Ambrose headed a Stokes free-kick past the post and stopper Virgil van Dijk missed a great chance in added-time, shooting straight at the keeper.

The result will cost the Parkhead club around £20 million in revenue and Celtic will go into the draw for the Europa League.

Cillian Sheridan will be the only Republic of Ireland man playing Champions League this season as Apoel Nicosia beat AaB.

CELTIC: Gordon, Lustig (Boerrigter 71), Ambrose, van Dijk, Izaguirre, McGregor, Mulgrew, Johansen, Kayal (Commons 46), Berget (Matthews 66), Stokes.

MARIBOR: Handanovic, Stojanovic, Rajcevic, Suler, Viler, Vrsic (Bohar 82), Mertelj, Filipovic, Ibraimi, Mendy, Tavares (Dervisevic 90).

Ref: Viktor Kassai (Hungary).

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