Champions League - Qualifying - Play-off - 1st Leg
NK MariborNK Maribor1CelticCeltic1

Maribor 1-1 Celtic

By Alasdair LamontBBC Scotland's senior football reporter at Ljudski vrt
Callum McGregor celebrates after scoring for Celtic against NK Maribor
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.

Callum McGregor scores for Celtic against NK Maribor
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.

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.

Damjan Bohar celebrates after scoring for NK Maribor against Celtic
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.

Stefan Johansen and Virgil van Dijk
Van Dijk's first-half header cannoned off team-mate Johansen
Stefan Johansen and Jasmin Handanovic
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

  1. Post update

    Match ends, NK Maribor 1, Celtic 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, NK Maribor 1, Celtic 1.

  3. Booking

    Mikael Lustig (Celtic) is shown the yellow card.

  4. Post update

    Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Petar Stojanovic.

  5. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Stefan Johansen (Celtic) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Leigh Griffiths.

  6. Post update

    Corner, NK Maribor. Conceded by Efe Ambrose.

  7. Post update

    Mikael Lustig (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Sintayehu Sallalich (NK Maribor).

  9. Post update

    Foul by Leigh Griffiths (Celtic).

  10. Post update

    Sintayehu Sallalich (NK Maribor) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  11. Post update

    Hand ball by Callum McGregor (Celtic).

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. Nir Biton replaces Beram Kayal.

  13. Post update

    Corner, NK Maribor. Conceded by Callum McGregor.

  14. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Sintayehu Sallalich (NK Maribor) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  15. Post update

    Corner, NK Maribor. Conceded by Virgil van Dijk.

  16. Post update

    Corner, NK Maribor. Conceded by Craig Gordon.

  17. Post update

    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.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, NK Maribor. Ales Mertelj replaces Amir Dervisevic.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. Leigh Griffiths replaces Anthony Stokes.

  20. Post update

    Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Wednesday 20th August 2014

  • NK MariborNK Maribor1CelticCeltic1
  • Aalborg BKAalborg BK1Apoel NicosiaApoel Nicosia1
  • LilleLille0FC PortoFC Porto1
  • Slovan BratislavaSlovan Bratislava1BATE BorisovBATE Borisov1
  • Standard LiegeStandard Liege0Zenit St PetersburgZenit St Petersburg1

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