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Kolo Toure retires, joins Celtic coaching staff

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36-year-old defender Kolo Toure announced his retirement on Friday, calling close to a 19-year career that featured stints at Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, and most recently Celtic.

In the same release, the Ivory Coast international also announced he will join the Scottish club as a technical assistant, beginning his coaching career at the club he last played for.

“This is a new chapter in my career, a new beginning. The football is over now,” Toure said to the official Celtic website.  “I can officially say I am retired from playing and now I am fully concentrating on coaching.”

Toure will be working under Brendan Rodgers at Celtic, the man who also brought him to Liverpool in 2013. “This is great news for Celtic that we are able to bring a man of Kolo’s experience into our coaching team,” Rodgers said in the same release. “In everything he does, he is quite simply a fantastic example to anyone.”

“I can learn so much from working with Brendan Rodgers, he is a top manager,” Toure said of his new boss. “I will be working with him and his staff very closely each day. He is one of the best young managers in the world right now. What he’s doing for Celtic is there for all to see, he’s doing amazingly right now.”

The release describes that Toure will be a member of the first-team coaching staff, “supporting on all first-team coaching matters, as well as using his knowledge, experience and expertise to assist across the club’s various youth levels.”

Celtic fan runs toward Mbappe at Champions League game

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GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) A Celtic fan ran on to the field during his club’s Champions League match against Paris Saint Germain on Tuesday.

The supporter was quickly apprehended by stewards and was booed off the pitch.

[ MORE: Champions League wrap ]

Pictures showed the fan coming close to PSG forward Kylian Mbappe and British media reported that he aimed a kick at the France striker, but missed him.

Edison Cavani had just given a 3-0 lead to PSG when the incident occurred.

Celtic hope to shock PSG in UCL — “We shouldn’t be underestimated”

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Patrick Roberts will either go down as a prophet, or a fool, after the Celtic loanee (from Manchester City) this weekend issued something of a warning to Paris Saint-Germain.

[ MORE: Top 25 moments in Premier League history — 15-13 ]

The 20-year-old says the defending Scottish Premiership champions “shouldn’t be underestimated” by the oil-rich Ligue 1 giants, and pretty well outlined his side’s gameplan for Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League Group B opener.

Roberts, speaking after Celtic’s 4-1 over Hamilton on Friday, stopped short of predicting an upset, but spoke openly of his own belief and confidence — quotes from the Daily Mail:

“Obviously the Scottish Premiership isn’t the same as their league. It is a bit underestimated. But we know the quality we have in this team. On our day, we can kill teams off.

“The first game is at Celtic Park, too, which is important for us. If we can get the fans behind us, then we can hurt them with our counter-attacks — and with our speed.

“We have some real firepower with the new lad coming in (Odsonne Edouard) and Leigh Griffiths. ‘We shouldn’t be underestimated.'”

It wouldn’t be the first time Celtic have turned over a heavily-favored giant at Celtic Park in recent years — they famously knocked off Barcelona at home during the 2012-13 group stage — but it’s worth considering that no side in Europe has more to prove than PSG in the Champions League this season. Between last season’s collapse against Barcelona, to the arrivals of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, the spotlight — and pressure — are on PSG like never before.

Celtic qualify for UEFA Champions League group stage

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Celtic survived a scare in Kazakhstan to qualify for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League for the second season on the trot.

[ MORE: Champions League schedule ]

Brendan Rodgers‘ side beat FC Astana 5-0 in the first leg of their playoff last week at Celtic Park but the trip to Kazakhstan proved much trickier with Astana leading 4-1 late in the game which had pulled the score back to 6-4 on aggregate.

However, Scott Sinclair had scored a priceless away goal to make it 1-1 at half time and despite a late flurry of goals for the hosts Olivier Ntcham scored a deflected effort and Leigh Griffiths wrapped things up late on as Celtic lost 4-3 on the night but went through 8-4 on aggregate.

Last season the Scottish champions went out in the UCL group stage after being drawn with Manchester City, Barcelona and Borussia Monchengladbach and will be hoping for a kinder draw this time around.

UEFA Champions League playoffs: Differing levels of comfort

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Only one of 20 playoff-contending clubs has a strong foot in the UEFA Champions League group stage with 10 second legs set for this week.

That’s Scottish champions Celtic, who took a 5-0 lead for manager Brendan Rodgers last week at Celtic Park and heads to the capital of Kazakhstan for a Tuesday date with Astana.

[ MORE: Man City 1-1 Everton | 3 things ]

As for the rest, there are varying levels of comfort. Napoli leads Nice 2-0 and didn’t concede an away goal to the French side, so the Serie A side has to feel pretty good. Liverpool edged Hoffenheim 2-1 in Germany and brings two goals home to Anfield. That, too, is confident footing.

Steaua Bucharest and Sporting CP are the only sides level, scoreless after a match in Portugal.

But Olympiacos is in Croatia and a goal away from being on the wrong foot after a 2-1 win at home to Rijeka, and Hapoel Be’er Sheva has the same situation in Slovenia against Maribor.

At risk? Three high-profile away trips and the same number of group stage home paydays. The losers drop into the Europa League group stage.

Tuesday
All matches at 2:45 p.m. ET unless noted

Astana vs. Celtic (Celtic leads 5-0) — 11:30 a.m. ET
Rijeka vs. Olympiacos (Olympiacos leads 2-1)
Nice vs. Napoli (Napoli leads 2-0)
Sevilla vs. Istanbul Basaksehir (Sevilla leads 2-1)
Maribor vs. Hapoel Be’er Sheva (Hapoel leads 2-1)

Wednesday
All matches at 2:45 p.m. ET

Copenhagen vs. Qarabag (Qarabag leads 1-0)
CSKA Moscow vs. Young Boys (CSKA leads 1-0)
Slavia Prague vs. Apoel Nicosia (Apoel leads 2-0)
Liverpool vs. Hoffenheim (Liverpool leads 2-1)
Steaua Bucharest vs. Sporting CP (First leg 0-0)