Celtic beat Sturm Graz 1-0 to give Brendan Rodgers first win as manager

03/07/16 PRE-SEASON FRIENDLY .. STURM GRAZ V CELTIC .. STADUIM GRAZ LIEBENAU - AUSTRIA .. Celtic's Ryan Christie opens the scoring
Image: Ryan Christie slots home Celtic's goal against Sturm Graz

Ryan Christie's first-half goal was enough to earn Celtic a 1-0 pre-season win over Sturm Graz in Austria and give Brendan Rodgers his first victory in charge.

Christie scored from close range 10 minutes before half-time as the Hoops improved on their display in the 2-2 draw with Slovenian side NK Celje on Thursday.

Rodgers made full use of his squad at the Merkur Arena and Celtic almost opened the scoring in the third minute when Christie was denied by Christian Gratzei in the Sturm Graz goal.

Celtic dominated possession for long spells, but often their final ball was lacking, and when they did create a clear opening midway through the opening period Nadir Ciftci was off-target with his shot.

Marc Andre Schmerbock fired a rare Graz chance over the bar and Celtic finally made their pressure pay on 35 when an unmarked Christie scored at the far post after good work from Scott Allan.

Gratzei came to the rescue moments later as Celtic tried to grab a quick second goal, the Graz 'keeper making a good low save to keep out a Liam Henderson effort.

Graz pressed for a goal before half-time but Schmerbock and Bright Edonwonyi failed to beat Logan Bailly, and Rodgers made a host of changes at the break with only Nir Bitton staying on from the first-half XI.

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The much-changed team took time to gel but Stuart Armstrong went close to making it 2-0 just before the hour, only being denied by a superb save from Gratzei.

Celtic welcomed back skipper Scott Brown from injury soon after, as Bitton's afternoon came to an end, but by then the game had become scrappy with Graz also bringing on a host of substitutes.

However, the Austrian side almost snatched a draw in the closing minutes when Andreas Gruber forced a superb reflex save from Celtic No 1 Craig Gordon.

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