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Delighted Imps chief under no illusions about task in Glasgow for return Celtic leg

By Ronnie Esplin

Published 14/07/2016

Celtic striker Lee Griffiths hit the bar twice as the Hoops tried in vain to get back on level terms
Celtic striker Lee Griffiths hit the bar twice as the Hoops tried in vain to get back on level terms

Lincoln Red Imps' shock 1-0 win over Celtic sparked worldwide reaction, according to the Gibraltan side's president Derek Alman.

The first leg of the Hoops' Champions League second qualifying-round clash at the Victoria stadium on Tuesday night was manager Brendan Rodgers' first as boss and it brought unexpected drama.

In searing heat and on a poor artificial surface, the Scottish champions were stunned by an early second-half goal from striker Lee Casciaro, which put the part-timers on the football map.

Delighted Alman responded: "This is historic for us, the combination of so many years of hard work behind the scenes and on the pitch.

"We have had an incredible reaction. We have had people calling us from New Zealand, Switzerland, Germany, with a lot of people on the blue side of Glasgow congratulating us, so I can see that the rivalry between the two clubs (Rangers and Celtic) is very much alive.

"We are getting calls from newspapers in Spain and Italy, there is a huge media interest in the story, and that the players are semi-professionals, some of whom are police officers and custom officers."

Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths hit the bar twice as the Hoops tried in vain to get back on level terms but Alman, who doubles as the club's chairman, claimed some ecclesial help may have played a part in their clean sheet.

"We could have scored a second, which just grazed the crossbar," he said.

"But obviously Celtic had their chances and they hit the bar as well.

"We had a Catholic priest with us, Father Paul Bear, a very special friend of the club, and he blessed the goal posts for us.

"He comes to our big matches and we always have a joke with him and say, 'Father please bless the posts and the crossbar'. He jokes, 'Okay I have placed a blessing on that goal'.

"And sometimes when we hit the post, we say, 'You forgot to take the blessing away'."

• Former Celtic manager Ronny Deila has been announced as the next head coach of Norwegian side Valerenga.

The 40-year-old will begin his role on January 1 next year.

Valerenga sit second-bottom in Norway's top division, in the relegation zone, midway through the current season.

Belfast Telegraph

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