Celtic smashed Icelandic champions KR Reykjavík 6-0 to ease into the second round of Champions League qualifying with another former winner Red Star Belgrade also comfortable 5-0 victors over Gibraltar’s Europa.
With the 2019/20 Champions League winners to be crowned this week, qualifying is well underway for places in the group stages of the 2020/21 competition and Celtic showed little sign of rustiness after a 10-day break with two fixtures postponed due to left-back Boli Bolingoli breaking government regulations for not quarantining after a trip to Spain.
Mohammed Elyounoussi opened the floodgates after just five minutes before an Arnor Adalsteinsson own goal and Christopher Jullien’s towering header made it 3-0 before the break.
Greg Taylor, Odsonne Edouard and Elyounoussi’s second rounded off the scoring to set up a meeting with Hungarian champions Ferencvaros or Sweden’s Djurgardens next week.
“Delighted with the result and with the amount of goals we scored to get us going again,” said Celtic boss Neil Lennon.
El Fardou Ben Nabouhane scored a hat-trick as Red Star eased into round two in Belgrade as they aim to reach the group stages for a third consecutive season.
Northen Ireland champions Linfield came close to springing a surprise against Legia Warsaw but went down 1-0 to Jose Kante’s goal eight minutes from time.
Qarabag and Dinamo Brest, who beat Astana 6-3, also secured their places in round two.