BRENDAN RODGERS will lead Celtic into their ninth nerve-shredding Champions League play-off situation against Hapoel Be’er Sheva at Parkhead tonight.

So far the Hoops have been successful on five occasions with Martin O’Neill (twice), Neil Lennon (twice) and Gordon Strachan in charge.

Ronny Deila (twice) and Tony Mowbray failed at this stage – the Norwegian in the past two seasons.


CELTIC 0 AJAX 1 (Agg:3-2) 2001/02

MARTIN O’NEILL had his first crack at Europe’s elite tournament after guiding rejuvenated Celtic to the domestic treble in his debut season.

The Hoops had a remarkable 3-1 victory over the Dutch champions in the Amsterdam ArenA with Bobby Petta, Chris Sutton and Didier Agathe on target. Ajax’s consolation goal was claimed by Shota Arveladze.

O’Neill must have been confident of the Hoops reaching the group stages, but the Parkhead faithful had to endure 90 minutes’ worth of anxiety and tension in Glasgow in the return leg when Brazilian Wamberto snatched a goal on the half-hour mark.

Celtic hung on for the win that took them through for titanic clashes against Juventus, Porto and Rosenborg.

TEAM: Douglas; Boyd, Valgaeren, Mjallby; Agathe, McNamara, Lennon, Lambert, Guppy; Sutton, Larsson.


CELTIC 1 MTK BUDAPEST 0 (Agg: 5-0) 2003/04

CELTIC were still recovering from their near-miss in the UEFA Cup Final against Jose Mourinho’s Porto in Seville when they faced the Hungarians.

The tie was effectively over after a 4-0 first leg win in Budapest with goals from Henrik Larsson, Didier Agathe, Stan Petrov and Chris Sutton.

Former England striker Sutton, Martin O’Neill’s first buy for the club at £6million from Chelsea in the summer of 2000, made certain with the winner in Glasgow as the Hoops eased through to play Bayern Munich, Lyon and Anderlecht in the group stages.

TEAM: Hedman; Varga, Balde, Crainey; Agathe, Miller, Lambert, Petrov, Thompson; Sutton, Larsson.


CELTIC 1 SPARTAK MOSCOW 1 (Agg: 2-2; Celtic win 4-3 on pens) 2007/08

ARTUR BORUC was the hero with two fabulous penalty-kick saves after the encounter ended in deadlock after extra-time.

Gordon Strachan’s side had given themselves a great chance of going through with a 1-1 draw in the Russian capital where Paul Hartley scored a superb headed goal.

In Glasgow, Scott McDonald’s opener was cancelled out by Roman Pavlyuchenko just before half-time. Following a further 30 minutes, the tie went to a spot-kick decider.

The Polish international keeper saved from Ivan Titov and Max Kalinichenko while Sunsuke Nakamura was the Hoops’ spot-kick culprit with an effort that smacked against the bar.

TEAM: Boruc; Wilson, Caldwell, McManus, Naylor; Nakamura, Brown, Donati, McGeady; McDonald, Venegoor of Hesselink.


ARSENAL 3 CELTIC 1 (Agg: 5-1) 2009/10

TONY MOWBRAY’S hopes of European glory in his first season as Celtic boss were blown away by Arsene Wenger’s London outfit.

The Hoops lost home and away, but were dreadfully unlucky in the first leg in Glasgow. It was heading for 0-0 at the interval when a Cesc Fabregas free-kick hit his team-mate William Gallas on the back and completely wrong-footed Boruc. Gary Caldwell diverted a Gael Clichy cross into his own net for the second in the 70th minute.

It didn’t get much better in the second leg when the Gunners were gifted a dodgy penalty-kick after an obvious dive from Eduardo conned Spanish referee Mejuto Gonzalez in the 25th minute. The Brazilian sent Boruc the wrong way from the spot.

Scott McDonald had a “goal” ruled out before the interval and Emmanuel Eboue and Andrey Arshavin netted two in the second-half. Massino Donati scored the visitors’ consolation effort at the death.

TEAM: Boruc; Hinkel, Caldwell, Loovens, Fox; McGeady, Brown, Donati, Maloney; McDonald, Fortune.


CELTIC 2 HELSINGBORGS 0 (Agg: 4-0) 2012/13

THE Hoops reached the Champions League group stages for the first time in four years with a comfortable two-legged victory over the Swedes.

Goals from Kris Commons and Georgios Samaras in the first leg set up the Scottish champions for a stroll in the return game in Glasgow.

Gary Hooper made sure of qualification with a 30th-minute strike before a header from Victor Wanyama in the closing stages put a gloss on the scoreline for Neil Lennon’s outfit.

TEAM: Forster; Matthews, Wilson, Mulgrew, Izaguirre; Forrest, Brown, Wanyama, Commons; Samaras, Hooper.


CELTIC 3 SHAKHTER KARAGANDY 0 (Agg: 3-2) 2013/14

IT was a night of high drama at a rocking Celtic Park as the Hoops attempted to come back from a 2-0 first leg defeat in Kazakhstan.

Nine months earlier, Lennon’s team had beaten mighty Barcelona 2-1 to reach the last 16 of the tournament. Now they were 90 minutes away from oblivion.

Just before half-time, Kris Commons scored with an outstanding long-range swerving effort and Georgios Samaras levelled the tie shortly after the turnaround.

With time ticking down and extra-time looming, James Forrest slammed in a sensational winner after a great run and pass from Anthony Stokes.

TEAM: Forster; Matthews, Ambrose, Mulgrew, Lustig; Forrest, Brown, Ledley, Commons; Samaras, Stokes.


CELTIC 0 SK MARIBOR 1 (Agg: 1-2) 2014/15

RONNY DEILA saw his team carelessly throw away the chance of gatecrashing the Champions League group stages with a dire display against the Slovenians.

The Parkhead men were already heading for the next stage after drawing 1-1 away from home with Callum McGregor scoring what should have been a priceless goal.

With just 15 minutes to go, Emilio Izaguirre mishit a clearance into his own penalty box and Maribor skipper Marcos Tavares hooked the ball high over the stranded Craig Gordon to send the home side toppling out of the competition.

The nearest Celtic came to scoring was a McGregor effort that hit the bar.

TEAM: Gordon; Lustig, Ambrose, Van Dijk, Izaguirre; Kayal, Mulgrew; McGregor, Johansen, Berget; Stokes.


MALMO 2 CELTIC 0 (Agg: 4-3) 2015/16

THE Celtic defence pushed the self-destruction button again as they got lost in a maze of mistakes against Malmo.

Goals inside the first 10 minutes from Leigh Griffiths and Stefan Johansen at Parkhead should have put the home side in easy street. However, they allowed Berget, the flop loanee from Cardiff City the previous season, to pull one back shortly after the interval.

Griffiths restored the two-goal advantage with an opportunistic header, but the defence failed to clear a left-wing corner-kick in stoppage time and Berget, astonishingly, scored again.

Unbelievably, Gordon and Co hadn’t learned their lesson from the first leg and the Swedes again scored from two left-wing corners in the return leg. Markus Rosenberg gave Malmo the advantage with a header in the 23rd minute and it was all over nine minutes after the break when Dedryck Boyata diverted the second past his own keeper.

TEAM: Gordon; Janko, Boyata, Van Dijk, Mulgrew; Brown, Johansen; Forrest, Johansen, Armstrong; Griffiths.

Meanwhile Ten Months of Celtic Heaven – That Season in Paradise is available now from www.cqnbookstore.com


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