• Champions League

Celtic cruise past Cliftonville in Champions League

ESPN staff
July 23, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Samaras was on target for Celtic © PA Photos
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Celtic eased through their Champions League qualifying tie with an expectedly comfortable 2-0 win over Northern Irish part-timers Cliftonville at Parkhead.

Goals from defender Efe Ambrose and forward Georgios Samaras made it 5-0 on aggregate and confirmed the Hoops will play Elfsborg in the next round after the Swedish side won 4-0 against Daugava in Latvia earlier in the day to progress 11-1 over the two legs.

Ambrose, who had cut short his delayed summer break for last week's first leg in Belfast when manager Neil Lennon found himself short of defenders, put Celtic ahead in the 16th minute when he headed in an Anthony Stokes cross after clever footwork from Mikael Lustig on the right.

As the procession towards the Reds goal continued in the first half James Forrest skimmed Conor Devlin's bar with a right-footed drive in the 38th minute.

However, there was no addition to the score until the 70th minute when Samaras, who had scored last week in Belfast, made it 2-0 when he headed in a Kris Commons cross from close range.

Gary Hooper - expected to move leave the Parkhead club, possibly for QPR - replaced Beram Kayal and hit the outside of the post with an overhead kick but the visitors held out to leave Glasgow with a respectable scoreline.

Elfsborg, well into their league season, will provide a tougher for Celtic test than Cliftonville whether or not Mo Bangura, on loan from the Hoops, plays against his parent club and that is the issue which will surround the tie until kick-off time at Parkhead next week.

Elsewhere, League of Ireland champions Sligo Rovers went down 2-0 on the night and 3-0 on aggregate to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Molde. Goals from Martin Linnes and Aliou Coly were enough to see the Norwegian side through.

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