Brendan Rodgers endured a nightmare start to life as Celtic manager as the reigning Scottish champions were humbled 1-0 by Gibraltan part-times Lincoln Red Imps in the first leg of their Champions League second qualifying round tie.
Police officer Lee Casciaro, the eldest of the three Casciaro triplets on display for the Red Imps, gave the home side the lead three minutes into the second half when he intelligently flicked the ball over an underwhelming Efe Ambrose before bundling a shot past Craig Gordon in the Celtic goal.
Rodgers’ Bhoys struggled to settle on the 3G pitch in Gibraltar but did almost equalise soon after when half-time substitute Leigh Griffiths had a goal-bound shot saved by Spaniard Raul Navas.
Debutant Moussa Dembele, who joined on a four-year deal from Fulham in June, thought he had scored on his competitive debut for the Hoops but his header from a free-kick was ruled out for a foul on the Red Imps goalkeeper.
Stuart Armstrong came close with 20 minutes remaining, but the ex-Dundee United man shot over the bar as a result of James Forrest’s cut-back.
It was Griffiths again though who looked most likely to score an away goal for Celtic, none more so than when his 78th-minute free-kick came back off the bar.
Turkish striker Nader Ciftci also had a header saved with the clock ticking down but the plucky semi-professional Gibraltans held strong which led to jubilant scenes at the final whistle.
The result gives Celtic are harder task than they would have anticipated when they play the second leg at Celtic Park next Wednesday.