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    Celtic 1 Midtjylland 1: Abada opener cancelled out by Evander as ten-man Hoops’ Champions League hopes hang in balance

    NOT Abada start.Just a hugely frustrating one for Ange Postecoglou in his first competitive game as Celtic boss.
    Liel Abada celebrates his opener for Celtic in their Champions League qualifier
    Liel Abada had to be withdrawn after the sending off
    Liel Abada’s debut goal got this new era off to a bright beginning.
    But a combination of idiocy and ineptitude cost Celtic in this Champions League first-leg qualifier.
    Nir Bitton’s first-half red card was a moment of madness while Vasilis Barkas did what Vasilis Barkas does when he flapped horrendously at the first shot on target he was asked to deal with.
    Midtjylland’s scorer was called Evander but it should not prove to be a knock-out blow.
    But it just didn’t need to be this way.
    Not on a night when the Danish outfit were also reduced to ten men when former St Mirren loanee Andres Dreyer was sent off for TWO bookings for diving.
    The upshot is that Celtic still have work to do in next week’s return clash in Denmark.
    Postecoglou couldn’t have asked for a better reception from the Celtic support.
    It was a warm welcome he got when he came out of the tunnel an hour before kick-off.
    There were only a few thousand fans inside the stadium at that point but they made themselves heard with loud cheers for their new manager.
    Liel Abada is already becoming a fan favourite at Celtic Park! 🙌A massive goal from the new signing gives Celtic the lead to the joy of Ange Postecoglou on the sidelines 🍀 pic.twitter.com/N1sX77Q71r— Premier Sports 📺 (@PremierSportsTV) July 20, 2021

    Evander’s free-kick went straight through Celtic keeper Vasilis Barkas
    Postecoglou responded by applauding back.
    After doing some pre-match media interviews at the side of the pitch the fans erupted again with the big Greek-Aussie clearly thrilled by it all.
    After punching the air a couple of times he then slapped the Celtic crest on his chest. 
    It’s clear that these supporters are more than prepared to go into this season with an open mind on the man brought in as Neil Lennon’s replacement.
    It’s not Postecoglou’s fault this Celtic squad is ill-prepared for what’s ahead. That’s not on him and the supporters know it.
    That culpability falls on the shoulders of the Celtic board.
    The fact Postecoglou highlighted their ‘hesitation’ in making signings has maybe only made him more popular.
    The bottom line is that 55 year-old wouldn’t have been the first choice appointment of many here last night – despite what some would have you believe – but he’s here now and getting all the backing he could possibly wish for.
    The same went for the team itself as the 9000 attendance did their best impression of a full house.
    You almost wouldn’t have known Celtic won nothing last season going by the positivity inside the ground ahead of kick-off.
    Postecoglou’s starting line-up also wasn’t as worrying as it might have been.
    The 1-0 weekend defeat to Preston North End came with a handful of youngsters all involved but there was a welcomed return of some experience for this one. Well, so it seemed.
    It’s an unnecessary second yellow and Nir Bitton is sent off! 🟥A disaster for Celtic so soon after taking the lead 😬 pic.twitter.com/1JTGgdSB5o— Premier Sports 📺 (@PremierSportsTV) July 20, 2021

    Bitton was in at centre-back, Ismaila Soro anchored midfield with Odsonne Edouard up front and Ryan Christie on the left.
    New £3.4million signing Abada was also straight into the team on the right having impressed enough in his weekend appearance as a substitute.
    With 44 minutes played the little Israeli was having the time of his life having made a dream start to his Celtic career.
    He was the man who fired Celtic ahead in 39 minutes with a clinical finish inside the box.
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    hristie – who had hit the post moments earlier – blasted another shot on target which was beaten away by the  Midtjylland keeper.
    Before any off his team-mates could react Abada snuck in to hit the net.
    It was just the lead Celtic wanted.
    The Danish side had shown next-to-nothing as an attacking threat with Postecoglou’s side looking good to have a comfortable night.
    But things turned in the blink of an eye.
    Midtjylland equalise through a howler from Barkas! 😮”It’s a horrendous mistake from the goalkeeper, I’m sorry.” 🗣️Celtic’s goalkeeping concerns continue 😬 pic.twitter.com/aFxbJTc4dL— Premier Sports 📺 (@PremierSportsTV) July 20, 2021

    There was no way they were going to buy his dive.
    The linesman awarded Celtic a goal kick and the referee turned away from the front man, who had a spell at St Mirren earlier in his career.
    In a rare Midtjylland attack Dreyer burst into the box and threw himself to the ground in a blatant attempt to con a penalty out of the officials.
    There was no need for any Celtic play to get involved.
    But young defender Stephen Welsh moved in first to point this finger at Dreyer and criticise him for being a con man.
    Then Bitton did the same.
    After initially shoving the Midtjylland man, he then wagged his finger in his face with Dreyer reacting like he’d been hurt.
    There was very little in it, but Bitton should still have known better than to get involved.
    He had picked up a booking in 38 minutes, for a cynical foul on the half-way line to prevent an attack, and he shouldn’t have attracted any more attention to himself.
    The decision to sent him off incensed him.
    He trudged up the tunnel like he’d been wronged. But in the cold light of day he’ll realise he was stupid.
    Dreyer, though, was even more brainless.
    He was booked for his part in the incident and with a one-man advantage the Danes were making inroads from middle to front.
    No sooner had they started to impose themselves on the game, though, and Dreyer was sent off. For diving. Again.
    Guilty of another blatant attempt to fool Swiss referee Sandro Scharer with another piece of cheating, the 23-year-old could have no complaints when he was shown a second yellow card.
    It was back to an even game and both sides went for it.
    But after Edouard missed a great chance to make it 2-0 the Danes levelled from an outrageous free-kick.
    Evander took aim from wide on the right with Barkas unable to stop the first shot he was asked to deal with.
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    Manchester United set to base themselves in St Andrews ahead of English Premier League season

    MANCHESTER UNITED are set to base themselves in Scotland ahead of the Premier League season.SunSport understands Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is planning to bring his squad north at the start of next month.
    Manchester United boss Solskjaer will put his team through their paces in ScotlandCredit: Getty
    They will base themselves in St Andrews and train at the university facilities used by Dundee United.
    The Red Devils open their Premier League campaign at home to Leeds on August 14 and their stay in Fife will allow them to put the finishing touches to their preparations.
    It’s thought Solskjaer will have all of his players who were involved in the Euros at his disposal.
    That means Jadon Sancho will be there, with his £73 million transfer from Borussia Dortmund expected to be sealed any day now.
    The likes of Scotland midfielder Scott McTominay and England duo Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire will also travel.
    Marcus Rashford could also be there if he chooses not to have a shoulder op.
    🚨 Read our Scottish transfer live blog for the latest news & gossip 🚨
    Meanwhile, Rangers’ midweek friendly with Blackpool has been cancelled due to a Covid-19 outbreak down south.
    Steven Gerrard’s side were set to be roared on by 4500 Gers fans at Bloomfield Road on Wednesday night.
    But both clubs have agreed to scrap the fixture due to soaring Covid cases within Blackpool and the surrounding areas.

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    A club statement confirmed: “We are disappointed to announce that our scheduled friendly fixture v Blackpool on Wednesday 21st July has been cancelled.
    “Due to an ongoing COVID-19 related issue within the Blackpool camp, both clubs have decided that it is sensible to cancel this fixture.

    “We recognise that this will be frustrating for both sets of fans, especially the 4500 Rangers fans who have bought tickets. Nevertheless, the ongoing challenges presented by COVID-19 require pragmatic and difficult decisions. The health of our players and staff is imperative.
    “We will update fans in due course regarding ticketing refunds. Fans will keep the MyGers points collected through the purchase of tickets for this match.
    “We advise fans not to travel to Blackpool now the game has been cancelled.”

    Keep up to date with ALL the latest news and transfers at the Scottish Sun football page 

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    Celtic line up shock Forster return on loan as they open talks with Southampton

    FRASER FORSTER is wanted on loan again by Celtic.The Southampton goalie was a hero for the Hoops during his last stint.
    Former Celtic keeper Fraser ForsterCredit: AP:Associated Press
    Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou wants to bring in new playersCredit: The Sun
    Now the new regime at Parkhead have opened talks with Saints about a shock return for Forster.
    But this time Celts will have to pay more.
    They ‘stole’ the keeper during his previous loan period, when they paid only a fraction of his salary.
    The Premier League outfit now want around half of his £130,000-a-week, but are more likely to pay a third.

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    Owner Dermot Desmond is famed for paying top dollar for players he likes, and Forster would be a huge hit with the fans.
    Meanwhile, now that he has sealed a move to Celtic, Kyogo Furuhashi now dreams of playing for Japan at the World Cup.
    He said: “Playing in a World Cup is more than a dream, it’s a great goal.
    “I’d really love to see what it feels like to play at that level — and I think about it very strongly.
     🚨 Read our Scottish transfer live blog for the latest news & gossip 🚨
    “I want to make the most of my opportunities.
    “The shortest way to reach everything is to focus on what is in front of me in the short-term and everything else will come.
    “I have to keep working.
    Japan will begin their next phase of World Cup qualifiers in September in a group that includes Australia, China, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam.

    They kick off their fixtures with a home game against Oman on September 2.
    The Japanese will then play each team both home and away before finally hosting the Vietnamese on March 29 next year.
    Should they finish in the top two of the group, Japan will qualify for next year’s Qatar World Cup automatically.
    But if they end up finishing third, they will face off against the other group’s third-place side for a place in the tournament.

    Keep up to date with ALL the latest news and transfers at the Scottish Sun football page

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    Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths targeted by Sunderland in shock loan move

    SUNDERLAND are lining up a shock move for controversial Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths.The Black Cats are exploring a loan move for the Hoops ace — who will find out where he stands in coach Ange Postecoglou’s plans shortly.
    Celtic striker Leigh GriffithsCredit: The Sun
    Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou has to decide what to do with GriffithsCredit: The Sun
    Sunderland gaffer Lee Johnson is chasing a goalscorer, and lost hitman Charlie Wyke to Wigan recently.
    Griffiths only signed a one-year extension to his deal at Celtic earlier this month.
    The 30-year-old has since been cleared by police over claims he sent inappropriate messages to two schoolgirls.
    He was sent home from the Parkhead club’s training camp in Wales earlier this month as cops and the club launched separate investigations.

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    And speaking this week, Postecoglou admitted he hadn’t given Griffiths a second thought in the time since.
    He said: “You know how much time I have spent thinking about that? You’ve asked me and I’ve just thought about it.
    “We’ll let it run its course and once it’s done and we get back up to Scotland then we’ll deal with it then.
    “I’ve not spoken to him.”
     🚨 Read our Scottish transfer live blog for the latest news & gossip 🚨
    Meanwhile, now that he has sealed a move to Celtic, Kyogo Furuhashi now dreams of playing for Japan at the World Cup.
    He said: “Playing in a World Cup is more than a dream, it’s a great goal.
    “I’d really love to see what it feels like to play at that level — and I think about it very strongly.
    “I want to make the most of my opportunities.
    “The shortest way to reach everything is to focus on what is in front of me in the short-term and everything else will come.

    “I have to keep working.
    Japan will begin their next phase of World Cup qualifiers in September in a group that includes Australia, China, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam.
    They kick off their fixtures with a home game against Oman on September 2.
    The Japanese will then play each team both home and away before finally hosting the Vietnamese on March 29 next year.
    Should they finish in the top two of the group, Japan will qualify for next year’s Qatar World Cup automatically.
    But if they end up finishing third, they will face off against the other group’s third-place side for a place in the tournament.

    Keep up to date with ALL the latest news and transfers at the Scottish Sun football page

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    Rangers boss Steven Gerrard reveals new signing Nnamdi Ofoborh, 21, has heart issue and will not be able to play for now

    STEVEN GERRARD has revealed new Rangers signing Nnamdi Ofoborh has a heart issue and will not be able to play for the foreseeable future. The midfielder, 21, joined the Scottish champions on a four-year deal this summer following his release from Bournemouth.
    Steven Gerrard confirmed new Rangers midfielder Nnamdi Ofoborh has a heart problemCredit: The Sun
    He agreed a contract back in February but the Gers medical staff discovered the underlying problem when they completed their checks this summer.
    And it spells bad news for the Nigeria Under-20 international.
    Speaking after his side’s 2-2 friendly draw with Arsenal on Saturday, manager Gerrard told RangersTV: “I don’t think you’ll see him in the short term.
    “Unfortunately something has flagged up with his ECG, which is the heart test.
    “We’ve got top medical people here at the club now and we check all the players thoroughly from head to toe when they arrive.
    “Unfortunately there’s been a bit of a red flag with a heart issue so he’s going to see some specialists in the coming weeks and we need to do more tests before we move forward.”
    Ofoborh came through the academy at Bournemouth and made five first-team appearances but spent the last two seasons on loan at Wycombe.
    He turned out 33 times for the Chairboys, scoring twice – including the club’s goal of the season in their promotion-winning campaign of 2019-20.
    But after securing his transfer to Ibrox, the former Cherries starlet’s career has been put on hold.

    Gerrard added: “The important thing is the player’s health, which we’ll obviously focus on first and foremost.
    “Of course it is disappointing and frustrating for the player but I spoke to him yesterday, told him to keep smiling and be patient.
    “We will do everything we can to support him, get him in front of the right people and the right support and hopefully he will be back, not too long.”
    Ofoborh came through the youth ranks at Bournemouth and enjoyed two loan spells at WycombeCredit: Getty
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    Euro 2020: Hibs show solidarity with England star Bukayo Saka in heartwarming gesture before Arsenal friendly

    HIBS have shown solidarity with Arsenal star Bukayo Saka with a heartwarming gesture.Jack Ross’ men are taking on the Gunners in a pre-season friendly at Easter Road this evening.
    Arsenal and England star Bukayo Saka missed a penalty in the Euro 2020 final vs ItalyCredit: AP

    Saka, 19, is playing no part in the match as he is now on a break following his involvement with England at Euro 2020.
    But in a touching gesture, Hibs showed solidarity with the teenager by hanging up a jersey with his name and number in the away dressing room.
    It comes after the teenager was the victim of vile racist abuse in the wake of England’s defeat to Italy on penalties in the final at Wembley on Sunday.
    His spot kick was saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma and proved to be deciding factor in his country’s 55-year wait for a major trophy going on.
    Arsenal showed their appreciation for what Hibs have done by sharing an image of the jersey on social media and captioning it: “Solidarity”.
    The Hibees then responded by simply saying: “We stand with you, Saka.”
    Arsenal fans loved the gesture and commended the Easter Road club for it on social media.
    @MaxCamilleri said: “What a club. Thank you Hibs. Will look out for your results this season.”
    @AFCjeedz added: “This is why Hibernian are the biggest club in Scotland.”
    @Zilhaddd agreed, replying: “Dub so big it made them the biggest club in Scotland.”
    @Call_Me_Daniels commented: “What a show of sportsmanship. Thank you Hibs.”
    @IfeWells tweeted: “Thank you Hibs, we Arsenal fans really appreciate this.”

    And @MrAndrewBrook posted: “That’s it. Never followed a Scottish club before.
    “Hibs it is then, gonna give the official page a like too. So there.”
    Following this game, Hibs aren’t back in action until Friday when they take on Raith Rovers on Friday.
    They will then face off against the winner of the tie between Mons Calpe and Santa Coloma in their Europa Conference League qualifying opener on Thursday, July 22.
    Ross’ men will then look forward to kicking off their Premiership campaign with a game against Motherwell on Sunday, August 1.
    While they can look forward to the first Edinburgh derby clash with Hearts of the season on Sunday, September 12.
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    How Arsenal could line up against Hibs with new signing Nuno Tavares in line for debut after completing transfer

    ARSENAL travel to Edinburgh on Tuesday to take on Hibernian and summer signing Nuno Tavares could get his first taste of action in a Gunners shirt.The left-back, 21, is unlikely to start since his move was only confirmed over the weekend but he could get some minutes at Easter Road.
    Arsenal’s possible line up to take on Hibernian
    Nuno Tavares was unveiled as an Arsenal player on Saturday
    Instead, Cedric Soares could start at left-back with Sead Kolasinac also on the bench after returning to the Arsenal squad since the players came back to training last week.
    The Bosnian’s Arsenal future had looked in doubt after he was loaned to a struggling Schalke side in the second half of last season.
    Cedric could be joined in the back four by Calum Chambers, Pablo Mari and Rob Holding, with Alex Runarsson expected to start in goal ahead of youngsters Arthur Okonkwo and Karl Jakob Hein.
    Mohamed Elneny will likely play in front of the defence with Emil Smith Rowe and Joe Willock occupying the other midfield spots.
    The latter is another who has returned to the Emirates following a successful loan with Newcastle, and the Magpies are still chasing the 21-year-old.
    Mikel Arteta could also welcome Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back to the side, with the latter a notable absentee in photos of the squad’s first day back at London Colney.
    Alexandre Lacazette could also start despite rumours circulating about his future, with the club reportedly desperate to offload him this summer.

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    Joe Willock is in line to start after a productive loan spell with Newcastle last season
    Sead Kolasinac will challenge Tavares for minutes at Easter Road on Tuesday

    Fans will likely be most eager to have a look at newcomer Tavares however, and gauge a sense of how the youngster likes to play.
    Kieran Tierney has made the left-back spot his own since arriving two years ago so Tavares will need to hit the ground running in pre-season.
    Tierney and the other stars who featured in Euro 2020 are not back with the squad yet, hence their exclusion from the team.
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    Celtic pay tribute to Lisbon Lions squad member Charlie Gallagher who has sadly passed away aged 80

    CELTIC have paid tribute to European Cup winner Charlie Gallagher who has sadly passed away at the age of 80.Gallagher was part of Jock Stein’s squad who swept the board in 1966/67 culminating in that historic win in Lisbon.
    Charlie Gallagher (Second from right) was always considered one of the Lisbon Lions
     🚨 Read our Scottish transfer live blog for the latest news & gossip 🚨
    And, although he didn’t feature in the final, the forward was always considered one of the Lions for his role in helping the team get to that stage.
    It was his corner turned in by Billy McNeill that enabled Celtic to see off Vojvodina in the European Cup quarter-final tie.
    Many observers felt he was unfortunate not to make the team for the final – but he was always considered an integral part of the group who savoured that famous success.
    He and McNeill had also combined in the same fashion two years previously as the Hoops defeated Dunfermline in the 1965 Scottish Cup final.
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    Keep up to date with ALL the latest news and transfers at the Scottish Sun football page

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