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Celtic 3-0 Lincoln Red Imps (Agg 3-1): Hoops get revenge and advance in Champions League qualifying

By Ronnie Esplin

Published 20/07/2016

Celtic Patrick Roberts celebrates scoring his side's third goal of the game during the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round, second leg match at Celtic Park, Glasgow. PA
Celtic Patrick Roberts celebrates scoring his side's third goal of the game during the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round, second leg match at Celtic Park, Glasgow. PA
Celtic's Mikael Lustig (right) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round, second leg match at Celtic Park, Glasgow. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday July 20, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Celtic. Photo credit should read: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire.
Celtic show their support in the stands prior to the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round, second leg match at Celtic Park, Glasgow. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday July 20, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Celtic. Photo credit should read: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire.
Celtic Patrick Roberts (left) Lincoln Red Imps Kyle Casciaro battle for the ball during the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round, second leg match at Celtic Park, Glasgow. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday July 20, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Celtic. Photo credit should read: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire.
Celtic fans in Celtic Park prior to the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round, second leg match at Celtic Park, Glasgow. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday July 20, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Celtic. Photo credit should read: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire.
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JULY 20: Leigh Griffiths of Celtic arrives before the UEFA Champions League Second Qualifying Round: Second Leg between Celtic Football Club and Lincoln Red Imps at Celtic Park, Glasgow on July 20, 2016 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JULY 20 : Celtic fans arrive early at Celtic Park ahead of their match against Lincoln Imps on July 20, 2016 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JULY 20: Scott Brown Celtic Captain arrives before the UEFA Champions League Second Qualifying Round: Second Leg between Celtic Football Club and Lincoln Red Imps at Celtic Park, Glasgow on July 20, 2016 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JULY 20 : Celtic fans arrive before the UEFA Champions League Second Qualifying Round: Second Leg between Celtic Football Club and Lincoln Red Imps at Celtic Park, Glasgow on July 20, 2016 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - Brendan Rodgers, Manager of Celtic arrives before the UEFA Champions League Second Qualifying Round: Second Leg between Celtic Football Club and Lincoln Red Imps at Celtic Park, Glasgow on July 20, 2016 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JULY 20 : Celtic fans arrive before the UEFA Champions League Second Qualifying Round: Second Leg between Celtic Football Club and Lincoln Red Imps at Celtic Park, Glasgow on July 20, 2016 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images)
Celtic fans outside Celtic Park prior to the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round, second leg match at Celtic Park, Glasgow. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday July 20, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Celtic. Photo credit should read: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire.
File photo dated 23-05-2016 of New Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday July 18, 2016. As Scotland's highest-ever paid boss on a deal worth around £50,000 a week, Brendan Rodgers has not come cheap for Celtic. See PA story SOCCER Pre-Season Scottish Talking Points. Photo credit should read Danny Lawson/PA Wire.

Celtic put part-time Lincoln Red Imps in their place with a 3-0 Parkhead win that set up a Champions League third-round qualifying meeting with Astana.

The Hoops had been embarrassed by a 1-0 defeat in last week's first leg in Gibraltar, in what was new boss Brendan Rodgers' first competitive game.

However, Celtic burst out of the traps eager to get revenge and three first-half goals from defender Mikael Lustig, striker Leigh Griffiths and winger Patrick Roberts had the tie finished before the break, with the second half a mere formality.

The Scottish champions will fly to Kazakhstan next week and while Astana, who booked their place in the next round with a last-gasp winner against Lithuanian side Zalgiris, will present a bigger challenge, Rodgers will be pleased with the way his side handled this potentially tricky match.

Celtic fans were given a pre-match boost when Bobby Lennox, who played in the club's European Cup final win over Inter Milan in 1967, and Rosemary Burns, wife of former Celtic player and manager Tommy Burns, helped unfurl the 2015-16 Premiership flag to raucous cheers.

Rodgers' attacking set up - Erik Sviatchenko was the only recognised centre-back - saw the visitors blitzed from the first whistle.

It looked like the home side had been awarded a penalty in the ninth minute when midfielder Stuart Armstrong went down in the box after a trip by defender Ryan Casciaro but, after consulting with his assistant, referee Bartosz Frankowski gave a free-kick at the edge of the box which Griffiths blazed over.

Midfielder Callum McGregor then cracked the bar with a deflected strike from 20 yards before he had a toe-poked effort from 12 yards pushed past the post by Imps keeper Raul Navas for another fruitless corner.

The breakthrough was, however, inevitable and Lustig's goal in the 23rd minute came when Lincoln failed to clear Armstrong's curling free-kick into the packed box.

Skipper Scott Brown was involved and when the ball fell to the Sweden full-back he turned and swept it into the net.

Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers

The Gibraltarians' resistance was shattered and three minutes later Griffiths drove in a second from the edge of the box after cutting in from the right.

In the 29th minute the impressive Roberts worked a one-two with McGregor and curled the ball past Navas from 10 yards for number three with the keeper denying Celtic striker Moussa Dembele six minutes later.

Lincoln would have welcomed the interval, but early in the second half striker Lee Casciaro, who scored in Gibraltar, almost notched again when he got behind Sviatchenko, only to screw his shot wide of the far post.

The visitors were enjoying some possession for the first time in the match but it was Griffiths who should have scored in the 65th minute when he met Lustig's pinpoint cross with his head, only to miss the target.

The luckless Dembele did the same with an angled drive from a more difficult position before he was replaced by Nadir Ciftci - Kristoffer Ajer and Emilio Izaguirre had already come on as substitutes - before Sviatchenko headed a McGregor corner past the post.

There was time for Navas to make a point-blank save from Griffiths, who then had the ball in the net only to be ruled offside, but by then it mattered little.

Belfast Telegraph

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