Celtic lacked courage in Zenit clash, says Brendan Rodgers

Feb 25, 2018, 01:57
Celtic lacked courage in Zenit clash, says Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers' side knew they would be up against it in Saint Petersburg on Thurday night given the pedigree of the opposition, but a 1-0 victory over the Russian side in the first leg at Parkhead did at least give the reigning Scottish champions that they had enough in them to see out the tie and progress to the last sixteen. We are taking steps forward with a lot of young players.

Lustig, 31, is an experienced campaigner as besides making 224 appearances in all competitions for Celtic, he also has 62 caps for Sweden to his name.

Celtic will now turn their attention to the pursuit of another domestic treble, resuming their Scottish Premiership campaign against Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Sunday, with a Scottish Cup quarter-final against Greenock Morton on 3 March, having already retained the Scottish League Cup.

"If it takes 95 minutes to get a 1-0 and it's been a bit scrappier than we'd have liked, we have to be professional and pragmatic enough to accept that it might be what gets us closer to where we want to be".

"It has been fairly well covered how few goals they concede", Murty said.

The Dons, too, were victims of a setback last time out, in their case a 2-0 loss to Hibernian at Easter Road.

Top-scorer Aleksandr Kokorin continues up front while Emiliano Rigoni, who is the Europa League's second-highest scorer this season with six goals, playing on the wing.

"We didn't have enough control in the first half in order to play forward", Rodgers noted.

The Bhoys failed to get any kind of control of the game throughout and they were behind on aggregate when Daler Kuzyayev's long-range effort somehow found its way into the net on 27 minutes. The run [69 domestic games unbeaten] went on too long and the focus was not getting beat rather than winning.

"Dembele was very good and aggressive, Ntcham was good and Brown always is, he is excellent for the team", Rodgers said, as quoted by STV.

"Of course we are up against the best of the best". Of course we are up against the best of the best, so there is a lot of learning taking place.

"But frankly, after a 3-2 defeat on home turf, we were in a hard position".