Celtic crash out of Champions League after losing to AEK Athens

Celtic crash out of Champions League after losing to AEK Athens

Celtic crash out of Champions League after losing to AEK Athens

The Hoops travelled to the Greek capital with the third qualifying round tie evenly poised at 1-1 from the first leg, but found themselves two goals down after 50 minutes.

Celtic will not be playing in the Champions League group stages this season after losing to AEK Athens 2-1 tonight.

"He's a player that we would've loved to have been here with us", said Rodgers.

The Belgian global is not in the squad for Celtic's crunch Champions League qualifier against AEK Athens tonight due to a back complaint.

'Unfortunately, I could not play because I'm not yet 100 per cent operational, ' the 27-year-old said on Instagram.

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"But he wasn't here and we look at the performance without him and I can't think any more than that".

The outcome was a bitter blow for Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers while AEK will be relishing a two-legged clash with Hungarians Vidi FC for a berth in the lucrative group stage of the competition. "We gave AEK a lot of problems but you have to defend properly and we didn't do that".

Rodgers admitted it was "very difficult" to get his head around his side's defending which left them in a Europa League play-off spot where they will play Latvian side Spartaks Jurmala or Lithuanian side Suduva.

"It would've been great to have had him here but he's not", added Rodgers.

Hendry headed a Griffiths corner over the bar just before the interval but any positivity Celtic's response elicited evaporated early in the second half when Galo's free-kick to the back post was headed back across goal by Vassilis Lampropoulos for Livaja to head past Gordon.

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