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  • Manager hails outstanding Celts after stunning Euro victory

    Manager hails outstanding Celts after stunning Euro victory

    By: Mark Henderson on 27 Sep, 2017 23:11

  • BRENDAN Rodgers has hailed his players after they produced a stunning performance tonight to brush aside Anderlecht in Brussels and record Celtic’s biggest-ever UEFA Champions League victory.

    In a magnificent European away display, the Hoops scored three times without reply in the Belgian capital, with Leigh Griffiths opening the scoring in the first half and Patrick Roberts and Scott Sinclair on target after the break to seal a thoroughly-deserved three points for the visitors, much to the delight of a jubilant travelling support.

    It was the Scottish treble-winners’ first away win in the UEFA Champions League in five years and it put them firmly in the hunt in Group B to secure European football beyond Christmas.

    Speaking to the media after the the manager said: “It was an outstanding performance and result. Everyone had built the game up before as a real pressure game for us but it was a brilliant team performance.

    “I think that we started the game with good confidence and gave the ball away loosely at times and we just needed to be cleaner in our build-up play, but our confidence grew with the more passes we made.

    “We got the first goal from a great move and from that point, certainly offensively, we were a real threat. The defensive organisation of the team, I thought their concentration and tactically and these are the things you are looking to see at this level and how they cope and deal with that. There are still areas to improve but they were absolutely exceptional.

    “Two of the goals we scored came from real high pressure and having that courage to press the game. You saw the fitness and everything of the players at the last goal. When we scored, we had five players in the box, all in good position – from protecting the middle of the pitch and then having that speed and ability to go away and score.

    “It was an outstanding performance. We played very well, and for a Scottish team to come away and get a 3-0 victory and keep a clean sheet at this level is a big achievement.”

    Many had predicted beforehand that this match would be pivotal in the battle for sealing third spot in the section, but the Hoops boss was adamant that there was still plenty of football to be played – and that this Celtic team still had room for improvement.   

    “It’s a great victory for us and, for me, it shows the development of the squad over the last year or so,” he said. “But there is a long way to go in the group.  We just need to take the victory and reflect on the game, and I believe we can better than we were tonight.

    “But the players deserve a huge amount of credit. On the back of a high-intensity game at the weekend, to come away and deliver that type of performance, they deserve all the plaudits they can get.”

    Scott Brown, who was fantastic in the middle of the park came off in the second half, nursing what looked like a hamstring strain, but the manager added that it was too early to give an accurate prognosis on the injury.

    “He said when he came off and I haven’t spoken to him since that he just felt something tight and he didn’t want to aggravate it so I won’t know for the next 24-48 hours what that’s at.”

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