Nothing to declare for Efe and Co in Celtic's Pole flop

EFE AMBROSE found entry to Poland for Celtic's Champions League qualifier a testing ordeal as immigration officers scrutinised the Nigerian's much-used passport and paperwork.

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Celtic keeper Fraser Forster is left helpless as Miroslav Radivic fires home his second goal of the night
Celtic keeper Fraser Forster is left helpless as Miroslav Radivic fires home his second goal of the night

Today, he must be wondering if it was worth the hassle as he found staying around for the duration of the tie against Legia Warsaw a feat beyond him.

Red tape was replaced by a red card as the defender was sent off after just 44 minutes of the first leg tie which 10-man Celtic lost 4-1

What is a massive mountain to climb in next week's return at Murrayfield could have been even tougher had Legia's skipper, Ivica Vrdoljak, not failed with two second-half penalties - both conceded by Charlie Mulgrew - the first hit past a post, and the second saved by Fraser Forster, who also pulled off a spectacular save from Michal Zyro.

But, it's going to be tough enough, and Ambrose will be suspended for this tie.

Unless his team-mates can compete much better and show more discipline against the Polish champions than they did last night, chances are he has already kicked his last ball in this season's Champions League.

Even before suffering a numerical disadvantage in the Pepsi Arena, the Hoops were tested to the Max - and came up short.

Legia used the width of the pitch and accurate, incisive passing to control the game and earn a lead to bring to Edinburgh.

It made Deila's stated dream of building a side good enough to control a game against a top European side - which Legia are not - look a long way from realisation.

He had tried to be bold, and got bitten in the posterior for his trouble.

The selection of Jo Inge Berget, who only joined the club on Monday from Cardiff on a six-month loan, was a surprise to everyone, not least the 23-year-old Norwegian who has only played half a dozen games this year, four of them for his country.

It was a quick return to the very-impressive stadium for the man who played there last year for Molde before his move to Wales.

The change in the back line, Adam Matthews coming in for Emilio Izaguirre, was another talking point for the couple of hundred Hoops fans who made the journey - and suffered attacks by Legia's Ultras in the city centre a few hours before the game

Deila certainly is no slave to convention and has shown consistent single-mindedness when making his team selections- as the continued involvement of 21-year-old Callum McGregor and last season's fall-guy Teemu Pukki, and the switch from Izzy to Matthews confirms. At least the fans had the comfort of seeing Forster in his usual place, though reports of his imminent departure to Southampton for around £8million suggest he might be watching next week's return leg as a fan from afar.

He cut a frustrated figure as he watched Legia cut through his team-mates, blasting the ball high into the stand after Miroslav Radovic had scored his and Legia's second of the night with just 36 minutes gone.

The new-look combo on the left of Matthews and Berget - who lasted only 62 minutes -did look exposed on numerous occasions, the Welshman in particular struggling to cope with the pace of rising star Zyro and old-school trickery of Ondrej Duda.

It was Zyro who set up Legia's equaliser, dispatched with some aplomb by the wily and dangerous Radovic, who scored in both legs of their tie against St Pat's.

Zyro also found room and space to cross for the second, won in the air by Michal Kucharczyk whose knock down set up the Serbian to shoot in from close range, with Ambrose guilty of slipping as he slowly reacted.

The Celtic defence appealed in vain for handball in the build up, but the ref waved them away.

In the dying minutes, Radovic turned provider after Celtic had slept at a short corner, crossing for Zyro to nip in and head low past Forster from six yards.

And, in injury time, further pain was inflicted when sub Jakub Kosecki rammed home No.4 from a tight angle.

It was night of massive disappointment for the Hoops, the initial one being that Radovic's first goal cancelled out a lead they had held for less than two minutes.

As in Iceland, it was McGregor who had provided the breakthrough, only this time it was after just eight minutes, not in the closing stages.

The M.O. was the same, however, cutting in from the right wing, before whipping in a shot which beat keeper Dusan Kuciak at his near post.

That vital away goal should have been the confidence boost Celtic needed in front of a Legia crowd which creates one of the best atmospheres in the modern game.

But, like their team, the fans redoubled their efforts, and the result was a 1-2 which knocked the stuffing out of Celtic.

When they were reduced to 10 men a minute before the break - after Ambrose pulled down Kucharczyk as he broke clear and headed into the box - it forced Deila into a hasty re-jig of his side, with Mulgrew dropping into the back line alongside Virgil van Dijk and Pukki making way at the break for Beram Kayal.

With Izaguirre on for the badly-tiring Berget just after the hour, a salvage job was clearly on.

But like most other things Celtic tried, it failed.

Football

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