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Lincoln Red Imps aiming to repeat first-leg heroics but are bracing themselves for Celtic backlash

By Ronnie Esplin

Published 20/07/2016

Huge shock: Lee Casciaro gave the Red Imps a 1-0 first-leg win
Huge shock: Lee Casciaro gave the Red Imps a 1-0 first-leg win

Lincoln Red Imps assistant manager Mick McElwee expects the Gibraltarian part-timers to face an early onslaught against Celtic at Parkhead tonight.

Striker Lee Casciaro's goal gave the Red Imps an unlikely 1-0 win over the Bhoys in the first-leg of their Champions League qualifying round clash at the Victoria Stadium last week.

At the Celtic Park press conference, McElwee, a life-long fan of the Scottish champions, predicted a whirlwind opening from Brendan Rodgers' side.

He said: "There's going to be a number of factors that come into play while you try to achieve keeping a clean sheet for the first 20 minutes.

"That could be our philosophy. But that first 20 minutes is going to be like a storm, because the Celtic players are going to be looking for an early goal.

"It's not going to turn out the way we want it to turn out and it's not going to turn out the way Celtic want it to turn out, because both teams are going to be cancelling little bits of each other out as we go along.

"If we can sneak a goal, it makes life very difficult for Celtic but if they get an early goal, the game is on."

While hoping the Red Imps will be able to shock Celtic for a second time, McElwee conceded that everyone at the club is more than aware of the task they face in front of what is sure to be a big crowd.

"Celtic are a great club, they've got a great team and great individuals," he said.

"I guess we can expect a reaction to what happened last Tuesday and the crowd is going to be an important factor.

"We're expecting a real battle and nobody's under any illusions about how tough the match is going to be and how much better we're going to have to be if we're to stay in the tie and give ourselves a chance of qualification.

"We've got a very strong record domestically. I know that means nothing in comparison to Scottish football, but we're champions 14 times in a row, which means it's a winning team with a winning mentality.

"Why can't we apply that winning mentality to this situation as well? We have players who have composure, poise and the ability to play.

"Let's see if they can pull out a performance to match Tuesday."

McElwee is determined to enjoy the Imps' second Celtic experience after missing last week's famous win as he was attending his daughter Molly's graduation in York. He said: "The coincidence was a bit unfortunate but family comes first and she graduated in English literature.

"We knew all along if we got to the second qualifying round it was going to be a clash but we just didn't know who we were going to be clashing with, obviously it was Celtic.

"But I am getting my fill now."

Belfast Telegraph

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