Celtic FC’s annual European humiliation came early this year, as they lost today in the Champions League second qualifying round against a team of semi-professionals from Gibraltar. A police officer scored the only goal in the 1-0 victory.
One of the 40th richest clubs in the world, Celtic was slotted into the second qualifying round by virtue of winning the weak Scottish Premiership last season. There they faced the Lincoln Red Imps—winners of the Gibraltar Premier Division for 14 straight seasons!—who defeated Estonia’s FC Flora Tallinn over two legs in the first qualifying round.
The BBC declared that the victory was “was no more than Lincoln Red Imps deserved,” and that they “defended well, impishly swarming around [Leigh] Griffiths and Moussa Dembele at every turn.” After a scoreless first half, “Ministry of Defense police officer” Lee Casciaro scored the only goal early into the second:
Presciently, the Red Imps’ captain Roy Chipolina told the BBC yesterday that a victory over Celtic, “arguably, it would be one of football’s biggest upsets in Europe,” pointing out that the team only even became semi-professional three years ago.
The Red Imps still have most of the heavy lifting to do, as they’ll travel to Celtic Park—capacity of 60,411, or about twice the entire population of Gibraltar—next week for the second leg, where Celtic will be heavily favored.
New Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers may not have been been embarrassed about losing to a bunch of bakers and candlestick makers,