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Scots' Champions League Bids Delicately Poised

The Champions League fate of Scotland's perennial top two hangs in the balance after a pair of tense first-leg performances in the final round of Champions League qualifying from Rangers and Celtic. The talking point in Glasgow is whether you'd rather be Celtic, which comes home to Parkhead in two weeks time with an away-goals advantage from a 1-1 first-leg draw at Spartak Moscow, or Rangers, which heads to Belgrade on the back of a last-gasp 1-0 home win against Serbian champ Red Star.

Probably Celtic; Celtic Park is a notoriously difficult place to play, and the team will have drawn confidence from what was certainly a "productive" away performance. That said, all that Spartak has to do to swing the series in its favor is score. The Russian No. 2 is a tough opponent by any measure.

As is Serbian champ Red Star, which gave Walter Smith's Rangers a "torrid" time at Ibrox on Tuesday. However, the shutout could prove crucial, because if DaMarcus Beasley and Co. can steal an away goal, then Red Star would need three goals to advance to the Champions League. Rangers will be motivated not to let this one slip away after failing to progress to Europe's elite club competition last year. But, as The Telegraph's Roddy Forsyth says, "the measure of how delicately the [series] are poised is the fact that it is perfectly possible to envisage both Scottish sides going through, or neither, or one or the other."

Read the whole story at Telegraph »

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