Champions League: Will Celtic Suffer Shock Early Exit?

Updated Thursday 21st July 2016, 09:16 AM

Brendan Rodgers developed a reputation for accentuating the positives during his time in charge of Liverpool, but he surpassed himself after his first competitive game as Celtic manager ended in a shock 1-0 loss to a team of part-time players from Gibraltar. It was the first leg of Celtic’s Champions League qualifying tie against Lincoln Red Imps and Rodgers insisted there was ‘no embarrassment’ in the defeat, highlighting the way his team dominated the match.

However, he might just be feeling a tad anxious ahead of tonight's second leg and Celtic now have work to do to avoid suffering a surprise early exit from the Champions League. For Lincoln, their challenge now is to try and emulate some of the great underdog stories of recent months, like Leicester City winning the Premier League and Iceland knocking England out of Euro 2016.

How the Bookies See it

  • Match Winner (second leg): Celtic 1/25, Draw 14/1, Lincoln Red Imps 50/1 - Paddy Power
  • To Qualify: Celtic 1/12, Lincoln Red Imps 6/1 - BetVictor
  • Half-Time/Full-Time: Celtic/Celtic 3/10, Draw/Celtic 17/4, Draw/Draw 17/1 - BetVictor


  • Celtic had been unbeaten on their four-match pre-season tour of Slovenia prior to their first-leg loss. They won the Scottish Premiership title last season, finishing 15 points ahead of nearest rivals Aberdeen, but have not qualified for the Champions League group stage since 2013-14.
  • Lincoln Red Imps won the Gibraltar Football League for a 15th straight year last season. They beat Estonian team Flora Tallinn in the first qualifying round to set up the clash with Celtic, when Lee Casciaro scored the only goal of the first leg.
  • Casciaro, 34, is not a full-time footballer and works as a policeman. The Red Imps team also includes admin clerks, a customs officer and a shipping agent.’s View

Celtic’s first-leg defeat undoubtedly caused some embarrassment for Scottish football, and Rodgers’ response probably created a few more sniggers, but he was right to call for calm. While many neutral football fans will be cheering on Gibraltar’s underdogs in the second leg in Glasgow, lightning really should not strike twice.

Celtic’s players will be building fitness quickly at this stage of the season and should be much sharper by the time the next match comes around, while they will be much happier on home soil rather than the artificial surface of the Victoria Stadium. It is bound to be a nervy night and there should be no temptation to bet on Celtic to win the Champions League at 500/1 with Coral just yet, but the chances are that they will negotiate at least one more hurdle.

  •'s top: Celtic to win 5-0 - 8/1 with Paddy Power 


*Odds may fluctuate prior to kick-off.

Last Updated: Thursday, 21 July 2016 09:16:16+00:00
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