Celtic keeps Anderlecht at bay to book Europa League assignment
Ian MacNicol / Getty Images Sport / Getty
Celtic will enter the Europa League knockout phase via third place of Champions League Group B despite losing 1-0 to Anderlecht on Tuesday.
Brendan Rodger’s side slid down the escape chute into Europe’s secondary club competition thanks to a better head-to-head record than the Belgian visitor.
The locals’ nerves jangled in Parkhead when defender Jozo Simunovic inadvertently directed Dennis Appiah’s cross past Craig Gordon after 62 minutes, but the three-goal deficit Anderlecht needed to bridge from the teams’ first group meeting proved too much.
Anderlecht will leave Scotland with plenty of positives. It was a performance that saw it dominate the middle of the park (even when midfielders were sacrificed for more forwards as the game drew to a close) and put Celtic’s defence under duress for long periods.
Anderlecht is seven points behind Club Brugge in its domestic top flight, and welcomes Sporting Charleroi to Brussels on Sunday. Celtic plays the same day, when it aims to extend its domestic unbeaten run of 67 matches at Hibernian.