Celtic, Rangers start European campaigns strongly

LONDON (AFP) – Celtic’s quest to reach the Champions League group stages got off to a good start on Tuesday night as Neil Lennon’s men recovered from a goal down to beat FK Sarajevo 3-1 in Bosnia.

The Scottish champions struggled in sodden conditions early on as Mirko Oremus slotted home after a goalmouth scramble to give the hosts a shock lead just before the half-hour mark.

However, Mikey Johnston’s fine strike from outside the box quickly drew Celtic level, and the visitors took control after the break.

Odsonne Edouard’s composed finish made it 2-1 six minutes after the restart and substitute Scott Sinclair struck five minutes from time to as good as put the tie beyond Sarajevo.

The sides will meet again in Glasgow for the second leg next week, but Celtic look set to overcome the first of four qualifiers that stand between them at the riches of a return to the group stages.

Rangers’ Europa League qualifying campaign also got off to a good start as they thrashed St Joseph’s 4-0.

Steven Gerrard’s men had to wait until the second-half for the goals to arrive in Gibraltar, but eventually romped to victory with on-loan Liverpool winger Sheyi Ojo scoring on his debut.

Ryan Jack opened the scoring four minutes after the interval with a smart finish.

Ojo then added a second with a curling left-footed effort before Borna Barisic’s free-kick made it 3-0.

Jermain Defoe kept his place in the starting line-up ahead of last season’s top scorer Alfredo Morelos.

However, the Colombian came off the bench to make his mark with a header to round off the scoring.

Celtic Glasgow players concede a goal during the UEFA Champions League first round qualifier match against Sarajevo. – AFP