Brendan Rogers suffered a first game to forget as his Celtic team slumped to a 1-0 loss to semi-professional Lincoln Red Imps. Lee Casciaro gave the Gibraltarian champions the victory in a game which could well go down as one of the worst defeats in the Scottish club’s history.
Celtic dominated possession, controlling the first half, but for all their possession they rarely troubled Lincoln ‘keeper Raul Navas. The Bhoy’s were perhaps unlucky not to go in to the break with the lead, as Scott Brown’s free kick was nodded in by debutante Moussa Dembele. However the referee deemed that Dembele had unfairly challenged the Red Imps ‘keeper, so the goal did not stand.
Efe Ambrose had already looked shaky at the heart of the Celtic defence, and it was his mistake that allowed Casciaro to latch on to a long ball forward and slot the ball past Craig Gordan at the start of the second half. It could have been even worse for Celtic, as Antonio Calderon fired just over after cutting in from the right of the penalty area, and Gordan was forced in to a smart save from Liam Walker.
As they chased the game, Celtic were able to conjure up a number of chances, but were unable to take them. Leigh Griffiths had one close-range effort deflected on to the bar, whilst he also struck the woodwork from a free kick. Substitute Nadir Cifti had the best chance for Celtic, as he met Kieran Tierney’s cross and forced Navas in to a fantastic low save.
But the Gibraltarians were able to hold on for a famous victory. Rogers will certainly be looking for an improvement in his first home game in charge, with the second leg taking place on the 20th July.