With just two days remaining until Cliftonville’s Europa League return tie with Nordsjælland, our mini series of continental anniversaries takes us back five years to one of the most memorable nights in the Club’s history.
For it was on this day in 2013 that Celtic visited Solitude for a Champions League Second Qualifying Round clash that had necessitated the installation of additional seating, such was the incredible demand for tickets to see the Reds return to the competition following a 15 year absence.
After Kris Commons and Beram Kayal had threatened to break the deadlock, defender Mikael Lustig was the first name on the scoresheet with a 15th minute header from Commons’ corner delivery.
A fierce Georgios Samaras strike made it 2-0 before Commons – who had hit the post inside the opening two minutes – rattled the crossbar with a powerful attempt from distance.
Cliftonville were much improved after the interval with Stephen Garrett forcing goalkeeper Fraser Forster into action ahead of Joe Gormley seeing a shot charged down by Efe Ambrose.
Ciaran Caldwell and Barry Johnston were next to try their luck and, after Anthony Stokes became the latest Celtic player to be thwarted by the woodwork, Marc Smyth saw his close-range effort cleared off the line by Kelvin Wilson.
James Forrest surged through to make it 3-0 in the final 10 minutes, completing the scoring on the night ahead of the Hoops adding two further goals to their tally in Glasgow the following week.
Meanwhile, as the Reds prepare to set off for Thursday’s Europa League encounter with Nordsjælland in Farum, today also marks a decade since the Club’s last game in Denmark.
Cliftonville exited the UEFA Cup on the back of a 7-0 defeat to FC Copenhagen on July 17, 2008; Ailton Almeida, Jose Junior (2), Atiba Hutchinson, William Kvist, Morten Nordstrand and Thomas Kirstensen completing an 11-0 aggregate triumph with victory at Parken Stadium.