Brendan Rodgers shocked as he loses his first game in charge of Celtic to a semi-pro side
We are all acquainted with the Rock of Gibraltar. Now hear about the shock of Gibraltar! Brendan Rodgers’ first game as Celtic's manager ended in a humiliating 1-0 defeat to a Gibraltar side Lincoln Red Imps containing a fireman, a policeman, and a taxi driver. This defeat comes in the first leg of their Champions League second qualifying round, with Rodgers’ men having a week to turn the result around at Celtic Park. However, what remains is the fact that this is arguably one of the most embarrassing defeats in the Celtics’ rich history.
The Celtics had dominated the game in the first half, but the favorites’ game was disjointed. The only goal of the match was scored by Lee Casciaro in the second-half, who is the Gibraltar Ministry of Defence’s police officer. The part-timer outfoxed Efe Ambrose and kicked the Celtic dignity with a cool finish in the 47th minute.
The Scottish champions had numerous chances to equalise, with Leigh Griffiths twice hitting the bar, but Celtic could not salvage anything from the lacklustre services. New signing Moussa Dembele couldn’t work his magic either and was subbed after failing to convert the only chance he had.
Brendan Rodgers said he’d be treating his underdog opponents like Barcelona in the pre-match press conference. As it turns out, it seems he made the part-timers actually look like Barcelona! There are no excuses for failing to beat opponents who’d win after completing their shifts at their day jobs, even if, the artificial pitch wasn’t in ideal conditions.
Brendan Rodgers, however, appeared in a confident stride after the game, “There's no embarrassment. We never took our chances and they took theirs. The second leg will be different.” They probably will sort it out at Celtic Park, they’ll have to. But it won’t remove the stain or the shame of losing against a team of part-timers in qualifiers for the biggest event in Europe.
The bottom line is that it was a poor display from the Scottish champions and the 1-0 scoreline was no less than the home side deserved after they more than matched their opponents. To put it subtly, they lost to a team whose territory population of Gibraltar could fit into Celtic Park, and there would still be no need to open the top tier.