Celtic on verge of Europa League qualification after Scott Sinclair’s header in Rosenborg leaves Brendan Rodgers’ side just one point away from knockout stage

ROSENBORG serenaded Celtic staff in the morning with a school choir singing You’ll Never Walk Alone in a formal match kit-reveal ceremony.

But it was the appreciative Hoops calling the tune at night.

Celtic on verge of Europa League qualification after Scott Sinclair’s header in Rosenborg leaves Brendan Rodgers’ side just one point away from knockout stageKenny Ramsay – The Sun Glasgow6 The Hoops hero heads home from a James Forrest cross

Scott Sinclair pounced in the first half to give Celtic the perfect boost for Sunday’s Betfred Cup Final against Aberdeen.

It also left them now needing just a point from their final tie against Salzburg at Parkhead on December 13 to make the Europa League last 32 for a second successive season.

Brendan Rodgers went strong with his line-up as the Hoops chased the victory they needed to press home their bid for Group B qualification ahead of RB Leipzig.

Comeback skipper Scott Brown was on the bench after being out for over a month.

There had been much talk about Rini Coolen’s selection for the newly crowned Norwegian champions, the belief being he would opt for a weakened side ahead of Sunday’s Cup final against Stromsgodset.

But it wasn’t especially and also included the high profile Nicklas Bendtner – recently found guilty of assaulting a taxi driver in Copenhagen.

Ex-Arsenal ace Bendtner will serve a 50-day ‘jail’ sentence at a time still to be agreed at his home in the Danish capital under surveillance with an electronic tag.

The Celts defence certainly had no problems monitoring him in a first half they all but completely dominated.

Celtic on verge of Europa League qualification after Scott Sinclair’s header in Rosenborg leaves Brendan Rodgers’ side just one point away from knockout stageAP:Associated Press6 The Hoops stars celebrate Sinclair's goal
Celtic on verge of Europa League qualification after Scott Sinclair’s header in Rosenborg leaves Brendan Rodgers’ side just one point away from knockout stageKenny Ramsay – The Sun Glasgow6 Sinclair's winner leaves the Hoops just one point from qualification

No wins in 14 previous away games in this competition provided added motivation for the confident Hoops at the trim Lerkendal Stadium – the second time they’ve played here in three months… and from the first whistle they passed for fun.

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Sinclair fired a 20-yard shot at keeper Andre Hansen after just two minutes as the Hoops made an early mark.

Hapless and hopeless Rosenborg looked like they were still suffering from a hangover following their title celebrations – labouring badly as they were left to chase shadows in the early stages.

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It was like roles reversed for Celtic on their group stage travels, so often forced to endure the same fate themselves.

But right now they’re performing in a similar convincing, assertive manner as the Invincibles campaign.

Tom Rogic shot over from 20-yards in the eighth minute as the Celts pushed for the opener.

It wasn’t until the 14th minute that Rosenborg showed something – a quality ball across the face of Craig Gordon’s goal from Yann Erik De Lanlay finding no takers.

Then the decent Birger Meling – who scored at Parkhead in July in the Champions League qualifier – volleyed weakly at Gordon. But stylish Celtic soon regained control.

Ryan Christie had a left foot shot deflected narrowly wide, then Rogic had a close range volley blocked.

The only concern at this stage was that Celtic had nothing to show for their dominance.

Hansen got down low to his left to save a Rogic shot.

The Aussie was prominent in Celtic’s creativity and he produced another effort in the 24th minute which was well over.

The Hoops were guilty of over-elaborating with their play.

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