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Celts march on despite defeat but Gers go out

 

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Rangers ace Kyle Lafferty is dejected

Rangers ace Kyle Lafferty is dejected

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers hails fans

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers hails fans

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Rangers ace Kyle Lafferty is dejected

Old Firm rivals Rangers and Celtic both tasted defeat in the Europa League last night but the Hoops were still smiling after making the knockout stages.

Rangers, who had to win to reach the last 32, conceded a late goal to lose 1-0 at Rapid Vienna but Celtic, despite losing 2-1 at home to Red Bull Salzburg, progressed thanks to a late equaliser from Rosenborg in a 1-1 draw at RB Leipzig in Group B.

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers said: "There will be things from a performance perspective that we can look at but we're through which is an absolutely huge effort."

After his side were floored by an 84th-minute strike from Dejan Ljubicic, Gers chief Steven Gerrard said: "To compete at this level, it's obvious to me that the players need some quality players that can come in and help."

Chelsea were held to a 2-2 draw with Vidi while Arsenal edged out Qarabag 1-0.

Rangers dominated possession and hit the crossbar early on through defender Connor Goldson but they fell short.

“We have certainly been tested,” added Gerrard. “As a group, we haven’t helped ourselves with certain situations and suspensions. Obviously, as the game was getting to the final stages, we were trying to roll the dice and get a little more adventurous to try and create something to get that moment we needed at 0-0 and, unfortunately, we’ve conceded a counter attack.

“But I think it is very hard for me to criticise the players for what they gave tonight.

“I felt we played very well for large parts of this game and the players deserve incredible praise for taking this group to the wire.

“I believe, if we were full-strength tonight, the situation might have been a little bit easier.”

Moanes Dabbur and a Frederik Gulbrandsen strike following a Craig Gordon howler put a dominant Salzburg into a commanding lead at Celtic Park.

Olivier Ntcham pulled a late goal back for Celtic, but it was Tore Reginiussen’s strike four minutes from time in Germany that would prove decisive.

Hoops boss Rodgers said: “It was very frustrating — we didn’t play well at all. They were a team that pressed the game well, but we didn’t build the game well enough from the back. You’ve got to be able to play through that pressure.

“We had too many touches in midfield and we lacked quality. From a performance perspective I was disappointed.”

Seven-time Champions League winners AC Milan are out after failing to make it out of Group F.

Belfast Telegraph


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