Europa League - Round of 32 - 2nd Leg
CelticCeltic1FC CopenhagenFC Copenhagen3

Celtic 1-3 Copenhagen (2-4 agg): Scottish champions out of Europa League

By Tom EnglishBBC Scotland at Celtic Park
Dame N'Doye's goal sealed Copenhagen's shock 3-1 win on the night
Dame N'Doye's goal sealed Copenhagen's shock 3-1 win on the night

Celtic suffered a shock Europa League last-32 exit after three goals in the final seven minutes of a dramatic - and self-inflicted - defeat by Copenhagen.

Neil Lennon's side seemed set for extra time when Odsonne Edouard coolly dinked in a penalty - awarded for handball after a VAR check - to cancel out Michael Santos' calamitous opener.

But the Danish champions netted twice on the break in the final five minutes - through Pep Biel and Dame N'Doye - to earn a 4-2 aggregate win and mete out Celtic's first defeat in 2020.

It was a bitterly disappointing night for the Scottish Premiership leaders, who were favourites after a 1-1 draw a week ago, but were architects of their own downfall at Celtic Park.

And it means Rangers will be Scotland's sole representatives in the next round, with the draw taking place from 12:00 GMT in Nyon on Friday.

'Dumped out with almighty thud'

Before the deluge of Celtic errors and Copenhagen goals, the home team had an intensity about them, a tempo in the early minutes that forced the Danes on to the back foot.

It took them 15 minutes to start turning that pressure into chances, but when they did the opportunities flowed. How they were left to rue their wastefulness.

Firstly, James Forrest might have scored had he shown a little more belief at the back post after Mohamed Elyounoussi had swung in a terrific cross. Then, Elyounoussi, after starting the move by ransacking the visitors in his own half, fired over when he should have, at the very least, tested Karl-Johan Johnsson in the Copenhagen goal.

Celtic were slick and menacing. A third moment came and went when Tom Rogic almost scored, the ball bouncing off him in the box and hitting Johnsson's right-hand post. Edouard had a shot deflected just wide and before the half was up the striker had another effort, a header from point-blank range following a delicious cross from Rogic.

You'd have bet your life on him putting it away, but instead he put it straight at Johnsson. Celtic Park held its head in its hands in angst.

Still, as tidy as Copenhagen looked when trying to counter attack, they hadn't threatened. Fraser Forster hadn't a save to make in the opening half. The missed chances would have frustrated them but the lack of menace from the visitors would have enthused Celtic all the same. A false sense of security as it turned out.


Early in the new half, everything changed. It turned out the that greatest threat to Celtic was Celtic themselves - or Jozo Simunovic to be exact. The big defender was guilty of calamitous defending, failing to deal with a routine ball and allowing Santos in to steal it away from him and go in on goal from the right.

Santos, an early substitute, had his pass cut out by a retreating Christopher Jullien, but the loose ball broke back to him and he clipped other Forster to render Celtic Park speechless beyond the euphoria coming from the visiting support.

A relatively comfortable night had suddenly become a crisis. Celtic needed a goal, for extra time, or they were going out. Rogic snapped a low shot wide, a cue for Neil Lennon to send for Leigh Griffiths and go with two up front.

Within two minutes, Griffiths had a magnificent chance after sustained pressure, his shot from on the edge of the six-yard box tipped away by a prone Johnsson, a reflex save that was both stunning and savagely hard to take for the home support.

The stress was tangible now, but it lifted when Sigurdsson was done for handball by VAR and Edouard clipped the coolest penalty past Johnsson. The class and impudence of the striker sent Celtic Park into raptures.

With eight minutes left, the impetus was with Celtic. The relief evaporated quickly. More awful decision-making did for them again with Copenhagen's second, Jullien and then Rogic getting their side into trouble in the first instance. The visitors countered and it was devastating, Biel put through on Forster and finishing brilliantly.

That as good as put Celtic out, but any prospect of a miraculous endgame was snuffed out with a third goal.

Again, Celtic were did themselves grievous damage. Kristoffer Ajer this time making a poor clearance before N'Doye went straight to score the goal that humbled the Scottish champions and dumped them out of Europe with an almighty thud.

Man of the match - Pep Biel

Pep Biel's goal with five minutes left effectively killed the tie
Clever and influential in the second half, the Spanish midfielder caused Celtic problems with his hustling and harrying and rounded it off with that decisive second goal. The real killer

Match stats

  • Celtic are winless in their last five European games against Danish opponents (D2 L3)
  • Copenhagen scored three times away from home in a European game (excl. qualifiers) for the first time since December 2009 (3-0 v Sparta Prague)
  • Celtic made it three European games without a win (D1 L2), after winning six of the seven before that, including qualifiers (D1)
  • Edouard has been directly involved in five Europa League goals this season (3 goals and 2 assists), more than any other Celtic player
  • Copenhagen scored with all three of their shots on target - all coming in the second half.

What does this mean for the coefficient?

Had Celtic gone through, two Scottish sides would have been guaranteed places in the Champions League qualifiers the season after next.

However, Copenhagen's win means Denmark replace Scotland in 13th place in the rankings - with the top 15 nations gaining two places in Europe's premier club competition.

Only Greece and Switzerland can prevent Scotland finishing 14th, and both Olympiakos and Basel would have to reach the business end of the Europa League to do that.

And, of course, should Rangers fare better than Copenhagen in the last 16, Scotland may well edge above Denmark again.



Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 67Forster
  • 35AjerBooked at 16mins
  • 2Jullien
  • 5Simunovic
  • 3Taylor
  • 8Brown
  • 42McGregor
  • 49Forrest
  • 18Rogic
  • 27ElyounoussiSubstituted forGriffithsat 70'minutes
  • 22Edouard


  • 6Bitton
  • 9Griffiths
  • 10Bayo
  • 15Hayes
  • 23Bolingoli-Mbombo
  • 29Bain
  • 30Frimpong

FC Copenhagen

Formation 4-4-2

  • 21Johnsson
  • 2Varela
  • 25Nelsson
  • 27R SigurdssonBooked at 82mins
  • 3Bengtsson
  • 16BielSubstituted forBjellandat 86'minutes
  • 6Stage
  • 10Gonçalves Rodrigues
  • 33Falk Jensen
  • 29KaufmannSubstituted forSantosat 45'minutesSubstituted forDaramyat 88'minutes
  • 14N'Doye


  • 5Bjelland
  • 8Thomsen
  • 11Daramy
  • 13Grytebust
  • 17Bartolec
  • 18Santos
  • 19Oviedo
Artur Manuel Soares Dias

Match Stats

Home TeamCelticAway TeamFC Copenhagen
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Celtic 1, FC København 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Celtic 1, FC København 3.

  3. Post update

    Foul by James Forrest (Celtic).

  4. Post update

    Rasmus Falk Jensen (FC København) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Tomas Rogic (Celtic).

  6. Post update

    Zeca (FC København) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Goal!

    Goal! Celtic 1, FC København 3. Dame N'Doye (FC København) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal.

  8. Substitution

    Substitution, FC København. Mohammed Daramy replaces Michael Santos.

  9. Post update

    Offside, Celtic. Christopher Jullien tries a through ball, but Leigh Griffiths is caught offside.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, FC København. Andreas Bjelland replaces Pep Biel.

  11. Goal!

    Goal! Celtic 1, FC København 2. Pep Biel (FC København) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Rasmus Falk Jensen.

  12. Post update

    Odsonne Edouard (Celtic) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Victor Nelsson (FC København).

  14. Goal!

    Goal! Celtic 1, FC København 1. Odsonne Edouard (Celtic) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the high centre of the goal.

  15. Booking

    Ragnar Sigurdsson (FC København) is shown the yellow card for hand ball.

  16. Post update

    VAR Decision: Penalty Celtic.

  17. Post update

    Penalty conceded by Ragnar Sigurdsson (FC København) with a hand ball in the penalty area.

  18. Post update

    Attempt missed. Michael Santos (FC København) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Pep Biel.

  19. Post update

    Offside, Celtic. Christopher Jullien tries a through ball, but Leigh Griffiths is caught offside.

  20. Post update

    Offside, FC København. Ragnar Sigurdsson tries a through ball, but Dame N'Doye is caught offside.


Join the conversation

These comments are now closed.


Scores, Results & Fixtures

Thursday 27th February 2020

As It Stood


2Apoel Nicosia6312108210
3FK Qarabag6123811-35
4F91 Dudelange6114818-104


1Malmö FF632186211
2FC Copenhagen62315419
3Dynamo Kyiv61417707


1FC Basel6411124813
3FK Krasnodar6303711-49


3PSV Eindhoven6222912-38


2CFR Cluj640264212


3Standard Liege6222810-28
4Vitória Guimarães6123710-35


1FC Porto631289-110
3Young Boys62228718


3Ferencvárosi TC614157-27
4CSKA Moscow612339-65


1KAA Gent6330117412


1Istanbul Basaksehir631279-210
3B Mgladbach622269-38
4RZ Pellets WAC612378-15


1Sporting Braga6420159614
3Slovan Bratislava61141013-34


1Man Utd6411102813
2AZ Alkmaar623115879
3Partizan Belgrade6222101008
4FC Astana6105419-153
View full Europa League tables

Top Stories