Celtic bounced from Champions League by AEK Athens Benfica reach playoffs

Celtic Manager Brendan Rodgers after defeat during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match at Tynecastle Stadium Edinburgh. PRESS ASSOCIATION

Former Manchester City winger Scott Sinclair headed home with 12 minutes remaining to give Celtic hope, but AEK held on.

Rodrigo Galo scored after six minutes for AEK and Marko Livaja made it 2-0 five minutes after half-time.

The Belgian defender claimed to be injured when he posted on Instagram: "Unfortunately, I could not play because I'm not yet 100% operational".

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

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

Glasgow Celtic suffered their first domestic defeat of the 2018-19 season on Saturday, with the Scottish champions going down 1-0 to Hearts at Tynecastle.

Striker Griffiths pointed to Celtic winning the domestic treble twice in a row when asked how crucial it was to reach the group stages of European football's elite club competition.

Celtic need to wait until Thursday to find out who they meet in the Europa League.

Sutton said Ladbrokes Premiership champions Celtic had splashed out on expensive "disco lights" but failed to make the right kind of signings to bolster the squad bossed by Brendan Rodgers.

"I always say you shouldn't have to lose to learn but when you do lose you have to learn so that is our message and we get back to the training field and try to improve".

Benfica, champions in 1961 and 1962, earned a 2-1 overall win over Fenerbahce after a 1-1 draw in Istanbul and four-time winners Ajax Amsterdam cruised to a 5-2 aggregate defeat of Standard Liege.

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