Paris (AFP) – Scottish giants Celtic crashed to a 1-0 Champions League defeat to Lincoln Red Imps on Tuesday with the goal scored by Lee Casciaro, a policeman in his day job.
Manager Brendan Rodgers’ first competitive match in charge was a humiliating affair, with 34-year-old Casciaro inflicting the hammer blow in the 48th minute.
This was one of 1967 European champions’ Celtic’s worst ever defeats in the competition, and it left the Hoops counting on turning this second qualifying tie around in the return leg at Parkhead next week.
For Rodgers it was the worst possible start to his Celtic career, the former Liverpool boss having replaced Ronny Deila in May.
Celtic turned up in Gibraltar for their first competitive fixture of the season as overwhelming favourites against their semi-professional opponents.
Named in honour of English lower-league club Lincoln City, Gibraltar’s Red Imps have dominated the domestic game in recent times, much like Celtic, winning the last 14 league championships.
Casciaro, who works for the Gibraltar Defence Police, scored the decisive goal in Lincoln’s 2-1 win over Andorran outfit Santa Coloma in the first qualifying round last week.
Celtic struggled in the heat and then got caught out by Casciaro, scorer of Gibraltar’s first international goal against Scotland at Hampden in 2015, who scored from 12 yards.
The visitor’s Leigh Griffiths hit the woodwork twice and French striker Moussa Dembele, making his competitive debut on his 20th birthday, had a goal disallowed after the half hour mark.
Celtic, aiming to return to the Champions League group stages for the first time since 2013/2014, had arrived at the Victoria Stadium unbeaten in their four warm-up matches.
But despite sustained late pressure Lincoln held out for a famous victory.
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