CELTIC have played Israeli opposition twice in the past – Hapoel Tel Aviv. The Hoops have won three and lost one. In the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup, the Bhoys advanced on a 3-0 aggregate with Henrik Larsson scoring all three goals, two in Glasgow and a single in Israel. In 2009/10, Tony Mowbray’s side lost 2-1 away from home with Georgios Samaras getting the consolation goal. Scott McDonald and Barry Robson struck in a 2-0 win in Glasgow.


BE’ER SHEVA defeated Sheriff and Olympiakos in the second and third qualifying rounds respectively; they won their home games and drew both away fixtures 0-0.

THIS is the Israelis’ first Champions League campaign; they won their third title – and first since 1975/76 – last season. They will be making their debut encounter against British opposition.

CELTIC boast Israeli talent in the form of midfielder Nir Biton, who joined the club from Ashdod in August 2013. He is the third Israeli international to represent Celtic following Eyal Berkovic and Beram Kayal.

EFE AMBROSE also played in Israel with Ashdod from June 2010 to August 2012.

BE’ER SHEVA defender Shir Tzedek turns 27 on 22 August, on the eve of the second leg against Celtic.

BRENDAN RODGERS specialised as a youth coach after a knee condition ended his playing career. He led Chelsea’s youngsters during José Mourinho’s first spell at Stamford Bridge, then took over at Watford, Reading and Swansea City before managing Liverpool from June 2012 to October 2015.

BARAK BAKHAR, the Israeli boss, was a defender for Hakoah Ramat Gan and Hapoel Petach-Tikva and moved from playing to coaching during an 11-year spell at Ironi Kiryat Shmona. He switched to Be’er Sheva last year, leading them to the championship in his first season.

THAT SEASON IN PARADISE – Ten Months of Celtic Heaven is available now from CQNBookstore.com
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