Sat, Aug 27, 2011 - Page 20 News List

Scottish teams out of European leagues

OUT OF CONTENTION:Scotland was left with no sides in either the Champions League or Europa League group stages after Rangers, Celtic and Hearts all lost their playoffs

AFP, PARIS

Celtic’s Georgios Samaras, left, vies for the ball with Sion’s Mario Mutsch during their Europa League playoff second-leg match in Sion, Switzerland, on Thursday.

Photo: Reuters

Old Firm rivals Rangers and Celtic crashed out of the Europa League on Thursday as Scottish soccer suffered a humiliating continental wipeout.

With Hearts also exiting the tournament, Scotland was left without a single representative in either the Champions League or Europa League group stages for the first time.

Rangers drew 1-1 with Slovenia’s Maribor at Ibrox to lose 3-2 on aggregate, Celtic went 3-1 down at Sion in Switzerland, while Hearts’ 0-0 draw at Tottenham Hotspur was at least an improvement on the 5-0 mauling they suffered in the first leg in Edinburgh.

US international Carlos Bocanegra grabbed his first goal for Rangers since his move from Saint-Etienne to cancel out Dalibor Volas’ opener, but they drew a blank in front of goal for the rest of the evening.

Celtic went to Switzerland having been held 0-0 by Sion in the first leg, but they were undone in the first minute when Daniel -Majstorovic was red-carded for a foul on Guilherme Afonso and Pascal Feindouno scored from the spot.

Feindouno added a second, before Charlie Mulgrew pulled one back for Neil Lennon’s team, but a late strike from Giovanni Sio secured the win for Sion, leaving Celtic to mull a depressing record of having won just one of their last 30 away matches in Europe.

Hearts toiled manfully at White Hart Lane to salvage a degree of pride as Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp introduced a crop of youngsters into his team on a night when he also sealed a loan move for Emmanuel Adebayor from Manchester City.

Rangers boss Ally McCoist said he did not fear for his job, despite his team’s exit.

“I don’t feel any more pressure. I just feel disappointment — disappointment for the fans and for the players. I certainly don’t feel pressure,” McCoist said. “It was a really disappointing night for Scottish football, but tonight is not the night to go into it. Over the next few days, there will be time to digest it.”

Unlike Scotland, England have four representatives in the group stage draw.

Joining Tottenham were fellow Premier League sides Stoke City and Fulham, as well as second-tier Birmingham City.

Fulham, the 2009-2010 runners-up, lost 1-0 at Dnipro -Dniepropetrovsk in Ukraine, but went through courtesy of their 3-0 first-leg win at Craven Cottage last week.

Evgeny Shakhov headed in a first-half corner from Serhiy Kravchenko to give Dnipro a glimmer of hope, but Martin Jol’s Fulham held firm.

Stoke cruised into the group stages as Kenwyne Jones scored twice in a 4-1 win over Swiss side Thun for a 5-1 aggregate victory. Matthew Upson and Glenn Whelan were also on target for Tony Pulis’ side.

Birmingham, who were relegated from the Premier League last season, celebrated the return of European soccer to St Andrew’s for the first time in 50 years with a 3-0 win over Nacional of Portugal.

Teenage winger Nathan Redmond, David Murphy and Chris Wood scored the goals for the Blues.

There were mixed fortunes for Italian sides, with AS Roma, watched by new multimillionaire owner Thomas DiBenedetto of the US, drawing 1-1 at home to Slovan Bratislava to go out 2-1 on aggregate.

However, city rivals SS Lazio enjoyed a 3-1 win at Rabotnicki in Macedonia for a 9-1 aggregate victory.

Unheralded Dublin side Shamrock Rovers reached the group stages for the first time thanks to an extra-time penalty winner against Partizan Belgrade.

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