Maribor qualified for the Champions League for the first time since 1999 as late Morales Tavares strike was enough to beat a poor Celtic 1-0.
Tavares scooped home over Craig Gordon with 15 minutes remaining to score the only goal of the match following one of many defensive lapses from the home side.
Celtic almost grabbed a late equaliser right at the death to force extra-time but Virgil van Dijk shot straight at Jasmine Handanovic from a couple of yards out.
Ronny Deila's team were thrashed 6-1 on aggregate by Legia Warsaw in the previous qualifying round but were reinstated after it was discovered that the Polish side fielded an ineligible player.
But having scored the vital away goal in Slovenia, Celtic looked at odds at whether to sit on their advantage or press forward and looked devoid of ideas. Indeed, it was the away side who carved out much the better openings and could have been ahead before the interval.
Deila rang the changes after the break, bringing on Kris Commons, Adam Matthews and Derk Boerrigter. But with Maribor looking increasingly dangerous on the break, they were made to pay 15 minutes before the end as Tavares looped home over Gordon.
Virgil van Dijk almost bailed Celtic out of jail right at the death but it would have been more than they deserved and this time there would be no reprieve. The Europa League beckons.
4’ – CELTIC GO CLOSE: It’s a dangerous run and cross down the left flank from Berget and it flies past Handanovic before Suler almost turns it into his own net.
16’ – CRUCIAL CHALLENGE AMBROSE: Ibraimi feeds Tavares and he looks to be in but for an excellent last-gasp challenge from Ambrose to block his shot.
22’ – CHANCE CELTIC: Suler does just enough to put van Dijk off his header direct from the corner.
28’ – CHANCE MARIBOR: Viler’s shot is parried by Gordon straight into the path of Tavares but he’s caught slightly unawares and it rebounds off him and straight back to the keeper.
56’ – MCGREGOR HITS THE BAR: It’s good work from Stokes down the left and his cross finds McGregor but he sees his shot cannon back off the bar.
66’ – GOOD SAVE GORDON: Vrsic gets away from Ambrose and the keeper is forced to parry his shot away.
75’ – GOAL MARIBOR: It’s a smart finish from Tavares, who loops his shot over Gordon following a scramble in the box.
77’ – GOOD SAVE GORDON: The keeper is again called upon to keep his side in the game as he palms away Mendy’s effort.
79’ – GREAT CHANCE AMBROSE: He powers his header just wide from Stokes’ free kick. Should have scored.
87’ – CHANCE MARIBOR: Tavares should kill the match but he lashes over from Bohar’s neat pass.
90+3’ – GREAT CHANCE VAN DIJK: He takes it down nicely on his chest but shoots straight at Handanovic from a couple of yards out.
Where was the Celtic ambition? Even with the away goal in the bank, the home side seemed devoid of ambition. They looked better with Kris Commons on in the second half but they still created little of note.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Ibraimi (Maribor): Totally ran the show for Maribor, creating space and chances at will and Celtic had no answer.
Celtic: Gordon 7, Ambrose 4, Lustig 5, van Dijk 6, Izaguirre 6, Kayal 6, Mulgrew 6, Johansen 6, McGregor 7, Stokes 6, Berget 6. Subs: Matthews 6, Commons 7, Boerrigter 6.
Maribor: Handanovic 7, Suler 7, Rajcevic 6, Viler 7, Filipovic 6, Ibraimi 8, Vrsic 6, Stojanovic 6, Mertelj 6, Tavares 7, Mendy 7. Subs: Bohar 7, Zahovic 6.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET
- Sports & Recreation
- Craig Gordon
- Virgil van Dijk
- Kris Commons