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Celtic fans let players know about big Rosenborg goal, says Brown

Celtic 1 Salzburg 2

Game winner: Salzburg’s Munas Dabbur scores his side’s first goal last night
Game winner: Salzburg’s Munas Dabbur scores his side’s first goal last night

By Ronnie Esplin

Celtic dramatically won through to the knockout stage of the Europa League despite a 2-1 defeat by Salzburg at Parkhead.

The Hoops needed only a point to make sure they joined the already-qualified Austrian outfit in the last 32 but were subdued in the first half as the classy visitors struck the woodwork amid several chances.

Israel striker Munas Dabbur, who scored twice in the 3-1 win over the Scottish champions in October, headed the visitors in front in the 66th minute before substitute Frederik Gulbrandsen capitalised on a horror mistake by goalkeeper Craig Gordon in the 78th minute to make it 2-0.

Salzburg defender Jerome Onguene fouled Celtic defender Filip Benkovic in the box in added time for substitute Olivier Ntcham to score from the penalty at the second attempt, but RB Leipzig's unlikely 1-1 draw with bottom side Rosenborg meant Brendan Rodgers' men held on to second spot in Group B.

Celtic midfielder Scott Brown said: "A couple of minutes beforehand I heard the crowd going wild so I thought maybe something had happened in Germany.

"We've worked hard and got through a hard, hard group, and for us to get European football yet again after Christmas is fantastic. We didn't get the result we wanted but we have managed to qualify.

"Salzburg pass the ball and move really well, especially the strike force. They are very unselfish and that is what makes them a good team, in fact it is what makes us a good team as well.

"I think in the past we've done really well at home and no matter who we get in the knockout stages it will be really tough. We've got a few more games before our winter break and then we will go to Dubai and work really hard."

The pre-match build-up had been dominated by the news that Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths had dropped out of football for an indefinite period to sort out personal issues and French forward Odsonne Edouard was again asked to lead the line.

Rodgers made one expected change with Kieran Tierney replacing Emilio Izaguirre after recovering from a groin issue, with experienced skipper Brown again on the bench.

The atmosphere at Parkhead crackled as it does on big European nights but the visitors, who reached the semi-final of the tournament last season, were inspired more than intimidated.

In the fourth minute, Hoops keeper Gordon made a superb finger-tip save from Zlatko Junuzovic's header.

Defender Mikael Lustig then took a knock to the head which required treatment, during which time the Celtic fans chanted in support of Griffiths.

Salzburg's Onguene hit the crossbar with a header from a corner in the 16th minute.

Midfielder Hannes Wolf had a great chance on the half-hour mark when Kristoffer Ajer's sloppy back pass sent him clear against Gordon but the Scotland keeper blocked.

Lainer took a reverse pass from Enock Mwepu and slung a cross into the box, Dabbur heading into the net from six yards.

Gordon was at fault for Salzburg's second, his attempted throw out was blocked by sub Gulbrandsen who had the easiest task of knocking the ball into the net.

Ajer managed to miss the target from three yards.

Then Benkovic was upended and Alexander Walke pushed Ntcham's penalty onto a post only to be beaten from the rebound, and when news of the final whistle came in from Germany there were loud celebrations until the last kick.

Celtic: Gordon, Lustig (Ajer, 21 mins), Benkovic, Simunovic, Tierney, Forrest, McGregor, Rogic, Sinclair (Brown, 46 mins), Christie (Ntcham, 58 mins), Edouard.

Subs not used: Bain, Izaguirre, Hayes, Morgan.

Red Bull Salzburg: Walke, Lainer, Ramalho, Onguene, Ulmer, Mwepu (Leitgeb, 80 mins), Samassekou, Wolf, Junu zovic, Minamino (Gulbrandsen, 74 mins), Dabbur (Prevljak, 90 mins).

Subs not used: Stankovic, Daka, Pongracic, Todorovic.

Referee: Ruddy Buquet (France).

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