As St Johnstone stun Galatasaray...

First win relieves pressure on Celts’ boss Postecoglou

ange Postecoglou

Belief: Ange Postecoglou (pic: SNS Group)

Jablonec 2 Celtic 4
Europa League 3rd qualifying round, 1st leg
Stadion Streinice

Galatasaray 1 St Johnstone 1
Europa League 3rd qualifying round, 1st leg
Basaksehir Fatih Terim Stadium

Celtic are on course for the Europa League play-offs after Ange Postecoglou recorded his first win as manager in the Czech Republic.

The new Parkhead boss has endured a tough start to his tenure, seeing his side knocked out of the Champions League qualifiers and then beaten by Hearts in the opening league game of the season.

The win over Jablonec at least relieved some of the pressure which had been building, although more defensive failings allowed the home side to score twice past Joe Hart, the Englishman making his debut in goal for the Hoops after his move from Tottenham.

Still, the four goals they fired in reply thanks to an encouraging attacking performance, should pave the way for the Glasgow side to progress to the play-off round at Parkhead next week.

Dutch outfit AZ Alkmaar await the winners of the third-round qualifier for a place in the group stages of the Europa League.

“There’s definitely areas we can improve. We started really well but there were periods where we lost control, particularly in the second half,” said Postecoglou.

“It’s great to get a win, especially for the players who have worked hard without getting the result. It’s a reward for the players and hopefully gives them confidence and belief.”

Liel Abada, Kyogo Furuhashi, James Forrest and Ryan Christie were all on the mark for the visitors.

St Johnstone defied the odds to earn a memorable draw against 10-man Galatasaray in Istanbul.

Heavy underdogs against a team which has played in the group stages of the Champions League in six of the last nine seasons, the Perth Saints took a shock lead thanks to Jason Kerr’s second-half penalty. Kane was pulled down by keeper Muslera, who was shown a red card, and the striker sent the resultant spot-kick past the substitute goalie.

Dreams of a famous victory last barely two minutes, with the home side hitting back through Boey.

The equaliser failed to take the shine off a superb night for Callum Davidson and his players, the manager justifiably delighted to still be in the tie for the second leg at McDiarmid Park.

“I’m delighted to come to Istanbul and get a result against a fantastic team like Galatasaray,” he said.

“We know it’s just the first game. Galatasaray will come at us, they have a lot of talented footballers, but we need to make sure we’re ready and give ourselves a chance to get a result in the game and make it difficult for them.”

Breidablik 2 Aberdeen 3
Europa Conference League 3rd qualifying round, 1st leg

Hibs 1 Rijeka 1
Europa Conference League 3rd qualifying round, 1st leg
Easter Road

Aberdeen are in pole position to make the play-off round of the Europa Conference League after beating Breidablik in Iceland.

Front man Christian Ramirez netted twice, with Lewis Ferguson scoring the other Dons goal to give Stephen Glass’ men the advantage going into the return at Pittodrie.

It wasn’t such a good night for Hibs, who had to rely on a Martin Boyle goal in the second half to salvage a draw against Rijeka in their Europa Conference qualifier at Easter Road.

The Hibees will be frustrated at missing a host of chances and will travel to Croatia for the return leg next week looking to be more clinical in front of goal.

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