Europa League - Group B
CelticCeltic1RB SalzburgFC Red Bull Salzburg2

Celtic 1-2 Salzburg: Scottish champions squeeze into Europa League last 32

By Scott MullenBBC Sport Scotland
Moanes Dabbur
Moanes Dabbur opens the scoring for Salzburg

Celtic scraped into the last 32 of the Europa League on a night of astonishing drama thanks to a late Rosenborg goal in Leipzig.

With Celtic two down to Salzburg - and Leipzig ahead - the below-par Scottish champions were heading out, until Tore Reginiussen's shock equaliser four minutes from time for the Norwegian side in Germany.

Goals from Moanes Dabbur and Frederik Gulbrandsen - after a horrible Craig Gordon error - had group winners Salzburg in command in Glasgow.

Olivier Ntcham pulled a goal back at the death, scoring the rebound after missing a penalty, but it was Reginiussen's late strike for the section's bottom side that would prove pivotal.

Celtic lost captain Mikael Lustig and Ryan Christie to injury as they chased the game against last year's semi-finalists.

The Parkhead side finish their group campaign on nine points, and join Salzburg in the last-32 draw at 12:00 GMT on Monday.

'A night of ice and fire'

It was an evening that started with fire and ferocity outside Celtic Park on a frosty Glasgow night. Pyrotechnics and fireworks illuminated the sky in the east end of the city as a group of Celtic's supporters added to what they already knew was an occasion of great importance.

However, that paled in comparison to the sparks that would fly in a spellbinding last 10 minutes at Celtic Park on what was a night of hard toil for the hosts.

For all the illumination pre-match, the home side spent the majority of the game chasing shadows as they simply failed to get to grips with a Salzburg side that relentlessly forced them to retreat deep.

Their cause was not helped as injuries took their toll. First, captain Lustig went off following a head knock, while man of the moment Christie was taken off on a stretcher with his leg in a brace as a result of blocking a shot in the second half. He left the ground on crutches and concern will remain around how long it will be before he returns.

Celtic Fans
Celtic fans with pyrotechnics outside Celtic Park pre-match

The Austrians were dominant from the start. Fifteen minutes in came the first real warning shot as Diadie Samassekou's header came crashing back off the bar.

After half an hour Kristoffer Ajer - who came on to replace Lustig - almost cost his team with an inexplicable pass straight to Hannes Wolf. He raced in on goal, only for Gordon to pull off a stunning save.

The first half came and went without a shot on target for Brendan Rodgers' men, and the one-way traffic continued after the break despite Scott Brown's introduction for Scott Sinclair.

For all Celtic's resolve before the break, the opener was just too easy for Salzburg. Stefan Lainer had the freedom of Glasgow to swing in a deep cross, with Dabbur splitting the centre-halves and heading in from six yards. Only a terrific save from Gordon would deny him a second four minutes later.

However, there was no preparation for what was to come with 13 minutes to play as Celtic threatened to implode. With the ball in his grasp, Gordon attempted to throw it to Tierney, but only managed to crash it against the loitering Gulbrandsen. The Scotland goalkeeper attempted to recover, but it was too late.

Celtic looked dead and buried and, when Ajer somehow turned the ball over the bar from just two yards out with eight minutes left, the writing was on the wall for the Scottish champions.

But, with all hope lost, something extraordinary happened.

With Celtic Park falling silent, a trickle of excitement, cheering and eventually euphoria began to bounce around the ground as word of Reginiussen's goal reached Glasgow.

It seemed to rouse their team as Celtic began to drive forward and they got their reward when Filip Benkovic was upended in the box by Jerome Onguene. Ntcham's effort from the spot was knocked on to the post by Alexander Walke, only for the Frenchman to turn in the rebound.

In the end, it didn't matter. Moments later a raucous roar erupted once more, heralding full-time in Leipzig. Celtic's early Christmas miracle had arrived.

Table: 1st Salzburd, 2nd Celtic, 3rd RB Leipzig, 4th Rosenborg

'A little bit of good fortune at the end' - analysis

Former Aberdeen defender Willie Miller on BBC Scotland

We assumed that Salzburg had nothing to play for because they had won the group. We assumed Rosenborg had nothing to play for because they had no chance. And how wrong can you be on both counts. Celtic had to amass the points in the first place. But it was a little bit of good fortune in the end.

It was better in the second half. Rodgers worked hard at half time, got the shape right and Celtic looked a much better force. But the first half was extremely disappointing. Celtic were all over the place. It could have been more embarrassing.

Match stats

  • Celtic's first attempt on target came in 89th minute from Olivier Ntcham
  • Brendan Rodgers' side have progressed through the group stages for just the second time (after 2014/15) having failed with their other three attempts
  • They have failed to win any of their four European games against Red Bull Salzburg (D1 L3)
  • Celtic won three of their six games - as many as they have managed in their previous 18 Europa League games
  • FC Red Bull Salzburg have won 37 Europa League games since it was rebranded in 2009-10 - more than any other team
  • No player has scored more Europa League goals this season than Salzburg's Munas Dabbur (6)



Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 1Gordon
  • 23LustigSubstituted forAjerat 21'minutes
  • 5Simunovic
  • 32BenkovicBooked at 88mins
  • 63Tierney
  • 49Forrest
  • 42McGregor
  • 18Rogic
  • 11SinclairSubstituted forBrownat 45'minutes
  • 17ChristieSubstituted forNtchamat 58'minutes
  • 22Edouard


  • 3Izaguirre
  • 8Brown
  • 15Hayes
  • 16Morgan
  • 21Ntcham
  • 29Bain
  • 35Ajer

RB Salzburg

Formation 4-1-2-1-2

  • 33Walke
  • 22Lainer
  • 15RamalhoBooked at 87mins
  • 6OnguénéBooked at 19mins
  • 17Ulmer
  • 8Samassekou
  • 45MwepuSubstituted forLeitgebat 80'minutes
  • 16Junuzovic
  • 18MinaminoSubstituted forGulbrandsenat 74'minutes
  • 9DabburSubstituted forPrevljakat 90+1'minutes
  • 13Wolf


  • 1Stankovic
  • 11Prevljak
  • 20Daka
  • 21Gulbrandsen
  • 24Leitgeb
  • 34Pongracic
  • 55Todorovic
Ruddy Buquet

Match Stats

Home TeamCelticAway TeamRB Salzburg
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Celtic 1, FC Red Bull Salzburg 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Celtic 1, FC Red Bull Salzburg 2.

  3. Post update

    Corner, FC Red Bull Salzburg. Conceded by Kristoffer Ajer.

  4. Goal!

    Goal! Celtic 1, FC Red Bull Salzburg 2. Olivier Ntcham (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner following a set piece situation.

  5. Post update

    Penalty saved! Olivier Ntcham (Celtic) fails to capitalise on this great opportunity, right footed shot saved in the bottom left corner.

  6. Post update

    Penalty conceded by Jerôme Onguéné (FC Red Bull Salzburg) after a foul in the penalty area.

  7. Post update

    Penalty Celtic. Filip Benkovic draws a foul in the penalty area.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. James Forrest (Celtic) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left.

  9. Post update

    Attempt saved. Tomas Rogic (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Callum McGregor.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Smail Prevljak (FC Red Bull Salzburg).

  11. Post update

    Jozo Simunovic (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Jerôme Onguéné (FC Red Bull Salzburg) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Filip Benkovic (Celtic).

  14. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Zlatko Junuzovic (FC Red Bull Salzburg) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, FC Red Bull Salzburg. Smail Prevljak replaces Munas Dabbur.

  16. Post update

    Attempt blocked. James Forrest (Celtic) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Filip Benkovic with a headed pass.

  17. Post update

    Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Alexander Walke.

  18. Post update

    Attempt saved. Olivier Ntcham (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner.

  19. Booking

    Filip Benkovic (Celtic) is shown the yellow card.

  20. Booking

    André Ramalho (FC Red Bull Salzburg) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.


Join the conversation

These comments are now closed.


Scores, Results & Fixtures

Thursday 13th December 2018

As It Stood


1B Leverkusen6411169713
3AEK Larnaca6123612-65


1RB Salzburg66001761118
3RB Leipzig62139817


1Zenit St Petersburg632165111
2Slavia Prague631243110
4FC Copenhagen612335-25


1Dinamo Zagreb6420113814
3Spartak Trnava621347-37


3Vorskla Poltava6105413-93
4FK Qarabag6105213-113


1Real Betis633072512
3AC Milan6312129310
4F91 Dudelange6015316-131


2Rapid Vienna631269-310
4Spartak Moscow6123812-45


3Apollon Limassol6213101007


1KRC Genk6321148611
2Malmö FF62317619
4Sarpsborg 086123813-55


2FK Krasnodar640288012
3Standard Liege631279-210


1Dynamo Kyiv6321107311
3FC Astana62227708
4FK Jablonec612368-25


2BATE Borisov63039909
3MOL Vidi621357-27
4PAOK Salonika6105512-73
View full Europa League tables

Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC