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Football: Celtic earn play-off reprieve as Legia kicked out

Celtic will take their place in Friday's Champions League play-off draw despite crashing out of the qualifying competition, after an unlikely reprieve by UEFA.

NYON, Switzerland: Celtic will take their place in Friday's Champions League play-off draw despite crashing out of the qualifying competition, after an unlikely reprieve by UEFA.

The Scottish champions were on the wrong end of a 6-1 aggregate mauling by Legia Warsaw in the qualifying third round, but the Polish outfit were kicked out of the competition on Friday. That leaves Celtic and not Legia going into the play-off draw, scheduled to be held in Nyon later Friday, with Legia in the Europa League draw.

"The UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body have announced that Legia have been sanctioned for fielding an ineligible player in their second leg against Celtic," a UEFA statement announced. The statement continued: "The match has been declared as forfeit and Legia have lost the match 3-0. As a consequence, Celtic have qualified for the play-offs on away goals (agg: 4-4) and Legia will compete in the UEFA Europa League play-offs."

Legia have five days in which to lodge an appeal. The Polish club, who have asked UEFA for a full transcript of the verdict, were sanctioned over Bartosz Bereszynski. Bereszynski, who only played four minutes at the end of Wednesday's second leg tie at Murrayfield, was sent off in Legia's concluding Europa League match last season. He was suspended for violent conduct for the club's two matches against Ireland's St Patrick's in the second qualifying round and also missed the 4-1 first-leg victory over Celtic last week.

But it then emerged that Bereszynski had not been registered in Legia's squad for the second qualifying round, and so the matches did not count towards his suspension. He has been handed a further one-match suspension.

This is not the first time Celtic have benefited from a UEFA inquiry, as they took their place in the Europa League group stages despite a qualifying defeat by FC Sion after the Swiss club were ruled out for fielding five ineligible players.