No panic despite shock loss: Rodgers

LONDON • Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers will not press the panic button after his football side's embarrassing defeat by part-timers Lincoln Red Imps from Gibraltar in the first leg of their Champions League qualifier on Tuesday.

Striker Lee Casciaro, a policeman, scored in the 48th minute to condemn the former European champions to arguably their worst-ever defeat on a night in Gibraltar where former Liverpool manager Rodgers was making his competitive debut for Celtic.

British media were quick to give their verdict on the humiliating 0-1 loss, with The Guardian calling it the "Shock of Gibraltar".

But Rodgers insisted there had been no shame in losing to the team of part-timers, who, including a taxi driver and a fireman, had completed their day jobs before playing in the match.

"There is no embarrassment," he told British media. "It was a tough game in tough conditions. We didn't take our chances, they took their chance. We dominated and created enough chances to score.

FAIR AND SQUARE

There is no embarrassment. It was a tough game in tough conditions. We didn't take our chances, they took their chance.

BRENDAN RODGERS, Celtic manager, on how Lincoln Red Imps won the match fairly.

"It doesn't matter the team, the level. Teams have good organisation, 11 players behind the ball. Throw the pitch into that, it's very, very tough for the players."

Rodgers, who was sacked by Liverpool last October before taking over at Celtic in May, said they had to turn their attention to the return leg next Wednesday.

"I've been around the game often enough, I know these results can happen. We stay calm," he said. "We need to put in a performance next week. The result here complicates it a bit for us. We move on to next week."

Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths hit the woodwork twice as the visitors battled back, but the Imps held out for a result which ranks as the most embarrassing in Celtic's European history, although the Scottish champions will fancy their chances in the return game in Glasgow next week.

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2016, with the headline 'No panic despite shock loss: Rodgers'. Print Edition | Subscribe