Football: Celtic thrown lifeline

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Alan Stubbs' late free-kick kept Celtic's Uefa Cup hopes alive after a first-half fitness gamble on Stephane Mahe looked to have put the Scots out of contention in the first leg of their preliminary round against FC Tirol.

The Frenchman, who had an ankle injury, was twice exposed by the brilliance of Christian Mayrleb. He cut inside in both the 22nd and 28th minutes to put the Austrians 2-0 up.

Wim Jansen replaced Mahe with Jackie McNamara at the interval, but it seemed Celtic's efforts would be in vain until Stubbs' 84th-minute free- kick which appeared to take a deflection on its way in.

In the same competition Dundee United face an intriguing second leg against Trabzonspor at Tannadice in a fortnight after succumbing to a late penalty in Turkey last night.

Trabzonspor, with only one home defeat in 15 years of Uefa Cup competition, stretched United's defensive resolve and could have had more than the solitary penalty converted by danger man Hami 13 minutes from time.

Former Aberdeen and Scotland full-back Stewart McKimmie was adjudged to have upended Kazim just inside the penalty area and Hami gratefully blasted the spot-kick past Sieb Dykstra.