Europa League - Qualifying Play-offs - 2nd Leg
Celtic3Suduva0

Celtic 3-1 Suduva: Brendan Rodgers' side into Europa League group stage

Leigh Griffiths
Leigh Griffiths' 100th goal for Celtic opened the scoring in the first half

Celtic salved some of their European disappointment by easing into the group stage of the Europa League.

The Scottish champions dropped into the continent's second-tier competition after being knocked out of Champions League qualifying by AEK Athens.

But Leigh Griffiths' 100th goal for the club, and strikes by Callum McGregor and Kristoffer Ajer, secured a 4-1 aggregate win over Lithuania's Suduva.

Celtic will join Rangers in Friday's group stage draw (12:00 BST).

This season will be the first time in over a decade that there have been two Scottish clubs in the league section of a European competition - the Old Firm clubs were both in the Champions League in 2007/08.

The Glasgow sides will meet on Sunday in their first derby of the campaign.

Revived Griffiths joins feted list

This always promised to be a comfortable night for Celtic - and so it proved.

The hubbub over striker Moussa Dembele - absent as he ponders life in the wake of Lyon's rejected bid - was put to one side and his team-mates put the Lithuanian champions away without any fuss.

Having fallen down the pecking order, Griffiths hasn't had the easiest time of it of late at Celtic, but his free-kick just before the half hour was the Griffiths of old.

He actually had two decent chances just before, but when he sized-up the dead ball it was Hampden versus England all over again. Up and over and in.

It earned Griffiths a place in the pantheon of Celtic's goalscoring centurions. Some list, that. Jimmy McGrory, Bobby Lennox, Stevie Chalmers, Henrik Larsson and Kenny Dalglish to name just five.

Suduva tried to keep the score down, but couldn't. McGregor, for one, was too much for them. Celtic wasted a few chances, but when Scott Sinclair squared for McGregor early in the second half, the midfielder all but guaranteed Celtic's progress.

Ajer's angled header made it three, a goal that did something to reflect Celtic's total domination.

There could have been more - the impressive replacement Ryan Christie, Mikey Johnston, Sinclair and Ajer all went close - but this was a stroll for Celtic. The Europa League beckons.

Striking comparisons as derby looms - analysis

All thoughts now turn to Sunday and the much-anticipated meeting of Rodgers' Celtic and Steven Gerrard's Rangers.

There were signs here that Celtic are beginning to find their attacking mojo. And they'll need it. Rangers are not the pushovers of last season. They look well-organised and robust in defence where previously they were accident-prone and demoralised even before they got off the bus at Celtic Park.

Rodgers and Gerrard have some decisions to make, principally up front. Can Gerrard trust Alfredo Morelos, big on goal threat but woefully short in the fuse department, in the white heat of Parkhead?

The Celtic manager has a conundrum, too. Will Dembele still be a Celtic player? And if he is still in Glasgow what will his mood be like?

Questions about Dembele and about Odsonne Edouard. Is he fit enough to make it? In most of his marquee wins, Rodgers has one of the two Frenchmen starting. They've delivered them and again.

What now? Griffiths didn't look pin-sharp against Suduva, but he got his goal and regained some confidence. The tale of the Old Firm strikers will be a big theme in the coming days.

Line-ups

Celtic

  • 1Gordon
  • 23Lustig
  • 20Boyata
  • 35Ajer
  • 63TierneySubstituted forIzaguirreat 69'minutes
  • 42McGregor
  • 8Brown
  • 21Ntcham
  • 73JohnstonSubstituted forHayesat 79'minutes
  • 9GriffithsSubstituted forChristieat 65'minutes
  • 11Sinclair

Substitutes

  • 3Izaguirre
  • 12Gamboa
  • 15Hayes
  • 17Christie
  • 18Rogic
  • 29Bain
  • 49Forrest

Suduva

  • 12Kardum
  • 11Svrljuga
  • 3Gayduchik
  • 82Jankauskas
  • 15Zivanovic
  • 19Slavickas
  • 21Acevedo
  • 20CadjenovicSubstituted forLeimonasat 56'minutes
  • 92OffenbacherSubstituted forVerbickasat 80'minutes
  • 94Cicilia
  • 9GotalSubstituted forKasparaviciusat 73'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Cinikas
  • 6Leimonas
  • 7Kasparavicius
  • 17Matulevicius
  • 22Verbickas
  • 26Ridley
  • 32Vezevicius
Referee:
Georgi Kabakov
Attendance:
44,639

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Thursday 30th August 2018

  • FC UfaFC Ufa1RangersRangers1
  • BurnleyBurnley1OlympiakosOlympiakos1
  • CelticCeltic3SuduvaSuduva0
  • FC AstanaFC Astana1Apoel NicosiaApoel Nicosia0
    FC Astana win 2-1 on penalties
  • AEK LarnacaAEK Larnaca3AS TrencínAS Trencín0
  • FC CopenhagenFC Copenhagen0AtalantaAtalanta0
    FC Copenhagen win 4-3 on penalties
  • RB LeipzigRB Leipzig3Zorya LuhanskZorya Luhansk2
  • Apollon LimassolApollon Limassol1FC BaselFC Basel0
    Apollon Limassol win on away goals
  • CFR ClujCFR Cluj2F91 DudelangeF91 Dudelange3
  • FK QarabagFK Qarabag3Sheriff TiraspolSheriff Tiraspol0
  • LudogoretsLudogorets Razgrad4Torpedo KutaisiTorpedo Kutaisi0
  • Maccabi Tel-AvivMaccabi Tel-Aviv2Sarpsborg 08Sarpsborg 081

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Villarreal6321106411
2FC Astana6312107310
3Slavia Prague62226608
4Maccabi Tel-Aviv611418-74

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Dynamo Kiev6411159613
2Partizan Belgrade622289-18
3Young Boys613278-16
4Skenderbeu6123610-45

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Sporting Braga631298110
2Ludogorets62317529
3Istanbul Basaksehir622278-18
4Hoffenheim6123810-25

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1AC Milan6321136711
2AEK Athens61506518
3HNK Rijeka62131112-17
4Austria Vienna6123916-75

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Atalanta64201441014
2Lyon6321114711
3Everton6114715-84
4Apollon Limassol6033514-93

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Lokomotiv Moscow632194511
2FC Copenhagen62317349
3Sheriff Tiraspol62314409
4Zlín6024110-92

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Viktoria Plzen6402138512
2Steaua Bucharest631297210
3Lugano6303911-29
4Hapoel Be'er Sheva6114510-54

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Arsenal64111441013
2Red Star Belgrade62313219
3Köln620478-16
4BATE Borisov6123616-105

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1RB Salzburg633071612
2Marseille62224408
3Konyaspor613246-26
4Vitória Guimarães612359-45

J

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Ath Bilbao632185311
2Östersunds FK632184411
3Zorya Luhansk620439-66
4Hertha Berlin612367-15

K

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Lazio6411127513
2Nice630312759
3SV Zulte Waregem6213813-57
4Vitesse6123510-55

L

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Zenit St Petersburg65101751216
2Real Sociedad64021661012
3Rosenborg6123611-55
4Vardar6015320-171
View full Europa League tables

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