CELTIC will have to overcome both a talented Alashkert side and also the intense heat of the Armenian summer tomorrow evening but Brendan Rodgers believes that he has his side ready for the challenge.
Celtic arrived in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia last night and will have by now got an exact handle on what the weather conditions are likely to be at 5pm Celtic Park time for tomorrow’s kick-off.
Temperatures will be between 30-35- degree Celsius and that should provide a considerable advantage to the home side who have won their league for the past three seasons. Brendan Rodgers is well aware of the challenge that awaits his side tomorrow.
“In this competition you always have to respect every opponent that you play,” Brendan said.
“Alashkert are a team who have won their domestic league for the last three seasons so we know they are a good side.
“I think the weather is always going to play a big factor.
‘The temperature back in the UK is hot just now but it’s nowhere near as hot as here.
“Sometimes it can affect the tempo of the game. It’s something we have to work through but our objective over the two legs is qualify for the next round.
“We know it will be tough to play in the heat, which we aren’t used to, and that we are facing a tough opponent.”
Rodgers outlined how he thinks that Alashkert will set up against Celtic.
“We’ve analysed a number of their games. They are a team who play well in the transition. They have a striker who is fast and when they play from deep his speed makes it difficult for you. They play very compact.
“We watched some of their qualification last year and they played very well,” the Celtic manager revealed.
“We know it will be a tough game for us, especially at this time of the season where we are only beginning our preparations and Alashkert are in the middle of their season.
“We expect them to be very compact and tight. When you pay at home in the qualification phase it’s important that you don’t concede a goal.
“That’s something you aim to do, particularly if you are at home in the first game. If you can take a goal or two away that helps.
“We expect to see them attack and to show that they can play good football. The team likes to build the game from behind, play their way through midfield and they’ll want to be a threat with their speed at the top of the field.
“We expect they’ll want to make a good start in the tie.”
Rodgers is giving tomorrow’s opponents the maximum possible respect.
“Our approach to every game is the same, it doesn’t matter the opponent.
“This is a squad of players at Celtic who are very respectful to every team we play. It’s a group of players that have a lot of humility.
“It doesn’t matter what level the opponent is at, we respect and prepare like we were playing Barcelona.”