Celtic stretch unbeaten run to four after 0-0 draw in Maribor

Celtic's Ryan Christie (left) battles for the ball against Marbior's Blaz Vrhovec
Image: Celtic's Ryan Christie (left) battles for the ball against Marbior's Blaz Vrhovec

Celtic finished their four-match pre-season tour of Slovenia unbeaten after they were held to a 0-0 draw at NK Maribor.

Brendan Rodgers' side failed to find their shooting boots in central Slovenia as they stepped up their preparations ahead of Tuesday's Champions League qualifier in Gibraltar.

The Hoops will face Lincoln Red Imps to kick-start their European campaign in the second qualifying round, with the return in Glasgow one week later.

Celtic's Scott Brown (right) in typically combative mood in Maribor
Image: Scott Brown (right) in typically combative mood in Maribor

Celtic had lost out to their Slovenian hosts on aggregate in the Champions League play-off round two years ago and Rodgers started with Leigh Griffiths and Moussa Dembele in attack but it was Stefan Johansen who had the first sight of goal, dragging his shot side from 10 yards.

Celtic's Stefan Johansen (grounded) gets treatment as Scott Brown looks on.
Image: Stefan Johansen (grounded) receives treatment before coming off with an ankle problem

The Norwegian midfielder picked up an ankle knock before the break and was replaced by Callum McGregor.

With the temperature still in the 20s despite the evening kick-off, Rodgers sent on nine players just after the hour, including Tom Rogic who fired wide from the edge of the area shortly after. 

Patrick Roberts also threatened from long-range while Tom Rogic forced a late save from Jasmin Handanovic in the home goal. 

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Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers gives thumbs up to fans after 0-0 draw with Maribor
Image: Brendan Rodgers gives a thumbs up to fans after 0-0 draw with Maribor

Rodgers took heart from his new side's defensive resolve and says they will travel to Gibraltar in good heart.

He told the club website: "It's been an excellent tour for us. I felt we left having worked well at Lennoxtown and after this 20-day period, we now travel to our first European game as a team.

David Garrido speaks to Ryan Casciaro ahead of Lincoln Red Imps' Champions League clash with Celtic.

"Our solidity and mentality has been excellent and that is very important to form a collective unit. We have only conceded one goal from open play over four games so our defensive organisation and pressing has become very good.

"We will get better offensively as time goes on but that collective idea of defending and pressing together has been very pleasing."

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