Champions League - Qualifying - Play-off - 1st Leg
NK Maribor1Celtic1

Maribor 1-1 Celtic

McGregor scored his fourth goal of the season in Maribor

Celtic restored a sense of European pride with a very creditable Champions League play-off first-leg draw with Maribor in Slovenia.

Callum McGregor scored his third goal of this qualifying campaign to put Ronny Deila's side in front early on.

They were quickly pegged back by a well-taken Damjan Bohar equaliser.

Both sides had numerous further chances but Celtic, reinstated to the competition in place of Legia Warsaw, are now clear favourites to go through.

Deila's men only took their place in the play-off round because their conquerors in the previous round fielded an ineligible player.

McGregor's goal gives Celtic an advantage ahead of the second leg

The Norwegian stressed the importance of learning lessons from the defeats by Legia and, on the whole, it appeared both he and his players had done that.

This was a more mature performance and gives the Scottish champions a terrific opportunity of progressing to the lucrative group stage when NK Maribor visit Celtic Park on Tuesday.

Perhaps crucially they bring back an away goal, which had a familiar look about it.

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Interview - Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor

McGregor's start to the season has been a sensational one and, just as he did in Reykjavik and Warsaw, he put Celtic ahead.

Stefan Johansen's deep cross was perfect for Jo Inge Berget, who had done well to stay onside, and though his shot was blocked by goalkeeper Jasmin Handanovic, young winger McGregor was on hand to smash the ball into the net.

Celtic looked far more composed and much less vulnerable to the counter-attack than they had in Poland, but a fragility at the heart of their defence was exposed as Zeljko Filipovic slid a pass between Virgil van Dijk and Jason Denayer for Bohar to tuck past the hitherto untroubled Craig Gordon.

Bohar levelled eight minutes after his side had fallen behind

But unlike the collapse in Warsaw, Celtic did not fold and but for two instances of real misfortune would have been back in front before half-time as first Charlie Mulgrew watched a back-post header cleared off the line by Filipovic before Van Dijk's effort smacked Johansen in the face, preventing an apparently inevitable goal.

Gordon had work to do too, pushing powerful shots from Petar Stojanovic and Agim Ibraimi away to safety in the first half and doing likewise with a second-half Ibraimi downward header.

But the keeper's best work came in the dying minutes as he threw himself high to his right to keep out another Ibraimi drive, this time from 35 yards.

Celtic were certainly forced to defend deeper in the second period but they had chances of their own - Van Dijk testing Handanovic from long range and Beram Kayal having what looked like a penalty turned down by Czech referee Pavel Kralovec, while Johansen also passed up a terrific chance after bursting through only to be blocked by Handanovic.

And though a second goal would have made for an even greater result to take back to Glasgow, they will still fancy their chances of reaching the group stage for a third successive season.

Van Dijk's first-half header cannoned off team-mate Johansen
Handanovic saved at the feet of Johansen to prevent the Celtic midfielder scoring in the second half

Line-ups

NK Maribor

  • 33Handanovic
  • 30Stojanovic
  • 26Rajcevic
  • 4Suler
  • 28Viler
  • 22VrsicSubstituted forMendyat 72'minutes
  • 5FilipovicBooked at 51mins
  • 21DervisevicSubstituted forMerteljat 81'minutes
  • 39BoharSubstituted forSallalichat 79'minutes
  • 10Ibraimi
  • 9Morales Tavares

Substitutes

  • 1Cotman
  • 7Mejac
  • 8Sallalich
  • 11Zahovic
  • 14Mendy
  • 44Bordignon
  • 70Mertelj

Celtic

  • 26Gordon
  • 23LustigBooked at 90mins
  • 22Denayer
  • 5van Dijk
  • 3Izaguirre
  • 42McGregorBooked at 75mins
  • 25Johansen
  • 21Mulgrew
  • 16BergetSubstituted forAmbroseat 73'minutes
  • 33KayalSubstituted forBittonat 87'minutes
  • 10StokesSubstituted forGriffithsat 80'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Ambrose
  • 6Bitton
  • 15Commons
  • 20Pukki
  • 24Zaluska
  • 28Griffiths
  • 53Henderson
Referee:
Pavel Kralovec

Match Stats

Home TeamNK MariborAway TeamCeltic
Possession
Home48%
Away52%
Shots
Home13
Away11
Shots on Target
Home6
Away4
Corners
Home7
Away8
Fouls
Home8
Away11

Live Text

Match ends, NK Maribor 1, Celtic 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, NK Maribor 1, Celtic 1.

Booking

Mikael Lustig (Celtic) is shown the yellow card.
Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Petar Stojanovic.
Attempt blocked. Stefan Johansen (Celtic) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Leigh Griffiths.
Corner, NK Maribor. Conceded by Efe Ambrose.
Mikael Lustig (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Sintayehu Sallalich (NK Maribor).
Foul by Leigh Griffiths (Celtic).
Sintayehu Sallalich (NK Maribor) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Hand ball by Callum McGregor (Celtic).

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Nir Biton replaces Beram Kayal.
Corner, NK Maribor. Conceded by Callum McGregor.
Attempt blocked. Sintayehu Sallalich (NK Maribor) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Corner, NK Maribor. Conceded by Virgil van Dijk.
Corner, NK Maribor. Conceded by Craig Gordon.
Attempt saved. Ales Mertelj (NK Maribor) right footed shot from more than 35 yards is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Agim Ibraimi.

Substitution

Substitution, NK Maribor. Ales Mertelj replaces Amir Dervisevic.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Leigh Griffiths replaces Anthony Stokes.
Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Petar Stojanovic (NK Maribor).

Substitution

Substitution, NK Maribor. Sintayehu Sallalich replaces Damjan Bohar.

Booking

Callum McGregor (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Callum McGregor (Celtic).
Agim Ibraimi (NK Maribor) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Jasmin Handanovic.
Attempt saved. Virgil van Dijk (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Jason Denayer.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Efe Ambrose replaces Jo Inge Berget.

Substitution

Substitution, NK Maribor. Jean Philippe Mendy replaces Dare Vrsic.
Jason Denayer (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Agim Ibraimi (NK Maribor).
Attempt missed. Beram Kayal (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Emilio Izaguirre.
Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Amir Dervisevic.
Jo Inge Berget (Celtic) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Marko Suler (NK Maribor).
Foul by Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic).
Marcos Tavares (NK Maribor) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Anthony Stokes (Celtic) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Mikael Lustig.
Attempt missed. Anthony Stokes (Celtic) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Emilio Izaguirre.
Attempt blocked. Agim Ibraimi (NK Maribor) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Dare Vrsic.
Attempt blocked. Anthony Stokes (Celtic) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Callum McGregor with a cross.
Offside, Celtic. Charlie Mulgrew tries a through ball, but Anthony Stokes is caught offside.
Callum McGregor (Celtic) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Marcos Tavares (NK Maribor).
Offside, NK Maribor. Agim Ibraimi tries a through ball, but Marcos Tavares is caught offside.
Attempt saved. Agim Ibraimi (NK Maribor) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Mitja Viler with a cross.
Foul by Anthony Stokes (Celtic).
Petar Stojanovic (NK Maribor) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Agim Ibraimi (NK Maribor) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Foul by Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic).
Zeljko Filipovic (NK Maribor) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Damjan Bohar (NK Maribor) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Dare Vrsic.
Foul by Anthony Stokes (Celtic).
Marko Suler (NK Maribor) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Booking

Zeljko Filipovic (NK Maribor) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Jason Denayer (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Zeljko Filipovic (NK Maribor).
Foul by Mikael Lustig (Celtic).
Damjan Bohar (NK Maribor) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Damjan Bohar (NK Maribor) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left following a corner.
Corner, NK Maribor. Conceded by Beram Kayal.
goal