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Celtic out of Europa League after 4-1 defeat in Prague

Sparta Prague beat the Scottish champions 4-1 for the second time in the group stage.

Celtic out of Europa League after 4-1 defeat in Prague SNS Group

Celtic’s Europa League hopes have ended in Prague with a 4-1 defeat to Sparta.

The Scottish champions can no longer progress from the group after their second heavy defeat to the Czech side.

Celtic had gone into the match with only two wins in their last eight games and Neil Lennon made changes to his side in the hope of turning their form around.

Odsonne Edouard and Christopher Jullien were among those returning to the starting line-up and Celtic started the game brightly as they sought to make amends for their 4-1 defeat in Glasgow.

Hopes were high as Edouard put the visitors ahead after 15 minutes. The French forward dragged his marker right then left before firing a shot across Sparta goalkeeper Florin Nita and in off the post.

Celtic had a lead to defend but couldn’t do so for long. A corner wasn’t dealt with, as Scott Brown failed to clear his lines, and David Hancko pounced when David Pavelka’s miss-hot shot fell to him in the box.

Sparta struck again on 38 minutes. A low cross from Borek Dockal flashed past four Celtic players and Lukas Julis was on hand, though possibly offside, at the back post to score.

Celtic went close with an Edouard free-kick after the break but as they pushed to get back into the game, Sparta threatened to exploit the space behind.

Tom Rogic replaced Scott Brown as Celtic tried to find an opening but with ten minutes to go Celtic’s task became insurmountable.

David Moberg Karlsson picked up a clearance from Hatem Abd Elhamed and raced down the left before crossing for Julis to volley past Scott Bain.

Celtic’s misery deepened in the final moments when substitute Srdan Pavsic burst through the middle before rounding Bain and then finishing past Callum McGregor on the line.