CELTIC manager Brendan Rodgers held his pre-match press conference at Lennoxtown today, ahead of tomorrow evening’s vital Europa League match against crack German outfit RB Leipzig. It is a match that his side simply has to win and if they can do so with a 3 goal margin all the better!
After defeats on the road in Salzburg and Leipzig, Celtic have just the three points, picked up on the opening group stages match at home to the rather hapless Rosenborg. The Norwegian Champions have been the whipping boys of the group so far and they are probably in line for another defeat tomorrow against run-away group leaders Salzburg.
This would see the Austrians safely though and mean that Celtic and Leipzig would be both in contention for the second qualifying spot, should Celtic win tomorrow. Even a draw and we can forget it. A single goal win could also be costly, if only Olivier Ntcham had managed to pull a goal back a fortnight ago when he had the chance late in the game.
Yet despite the two defeats to the Red Bull sides, the Celtic boss was in confident mood today. He has seen his team hit top form in recent weeks domestically and hopes they can bring their free scoring, attractive A game to the Europa League for the remaining three games.
“We are certainly in a much better place than we were a number of weeks ago. The team’s very confident, we’re playing well, scoring goals and defensively strong,” Brendan said.
The Irishman is well aware of the quality of the Leipzig team but recognises that the outcome can be very different with the gam being played at home in front of the huge Celtic crowd.
“It’s a tough game for us and we love playing at Celtic Park. If we’ve any opportunity to progress, we know it’s a game we need to win,” Brendan admitted.
“It’s a pressure game but not every pressure situation is a negative. We’ve seen these pressure moments, at times, show our qualities.
“It’s always a different game at Celtic Park. Our supporters push us on and help us. We’ll need to be at the very highest level to get a result.”
Celtic have impressed domestically in recent weeks but have yet to sparkle in European competition this season. The manager is hopeful that that is about two change.
“We always have something to prove – domestically or in Europe. That’s what you do as a player or manager in every game. I think in Europe, I’m very realistic in where we’re at. That doesn’t stop us wanting to get really good results,” Brendan said.
“This season we’re in the Europa League and we want to get out of the group and go as far as we possibly can. We want to do our very best and that’s all we ever look to do.
“For me, every game is a big game at Celtic. Every week is a big week. It’s a very good group and we’ll fight to the very end to qualify,” the manager continued.
One player who has been particulate impressive in recent weeks is midfielder Ryan Christie who has bagged 3 goals in the last 2 and a half games.
“He’s been brilliant in this little spell. I had a really good chat with him during the week. To see his progress is a huge credit to him. He has the confidence to fill the shirt. If he can sign a new deal that’ll be absolutely great,” Brendan said.
On the injury front there was some good news today regarding Youssouf Mulumbu.
“He trained this week and is back in the squad,” Rodgers revealed. The former West Brom and Kilmarnock midfielder is in contention for a place on the bench.
Also on The Celtic Star today…
‘It was like big Roy Aitken had killed the guy and they were putting a sheet over him,’ Dougie McGuire…See HERE.
Celtic v RB Leipzig: ‘The fans and the amazing atmosphere,’ Celtic star on why we’re stronger at home…See HERE.
Celtic v RB Leipzig: Thursday Night Fever, ‘a beautiful atmosphere,’ says Kampl…See HERE.
Teddy Bears are Terrified! “The fear of Ten won’t go away,” admits Weir…See HERE.
Celtic v RB Leipzig: ‘It’s got to be Perfect’, Hartson tells Celtic…See HERE.
Celtic v RB Leipzig: ‘A weird feeling watching on the telly’, Forrest’s glad to be back…See HERE.
Jim Craig – Celtic faced one of the founder members of the Scottish League, Abercorn FC…See HERE.