Celtic drawn against Zalgiris or Astana in Champions League

Celtic trail 1-0 to Lincoln Red Imps after a first leg defeat. Picture: SNS

Celtic trail 1-0 to Lincoln Red Imps after a first leg defeat. Picture: SNS

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Celtic will face Zalgiris or Astana in the third qualifying round for the Uefa Champions League if they are able to overturn their first leg deficit against Lincoln Red Imps.

Despite Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat in Gibraltar, Brendan Rodgers side are still favourites to advance to the next round, where they’ll either square off against Lithuanian side Zalgiris or make a return to Kazakhstan to face Astana over two legs. That tie is currently deadlocked at 0-0 after the first leg match in Lithuania.

Astana is situated 130 miles from Karaganda, where Celtic were humbled by Shakhter Karagandy in Champions League qualifying three years ago. The Hoops lost the opening game 2-0 but advanced thanks to a 3-0 victory at Celtic Park.

Should Zalgiris advance, Celtic will come up against a couple of familiar faces in ex-Hearts duo Linas Pilibaitis and Marius Zaliukas.

The first leg of the third qualifying round will take place on either 26 or 27 July, with the return leg coming the following midweek at Celtic Park.

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