Sci-tech

Brendan Rodgers: Celtic weren't courageous enough

Brendan Rodgers: Celtic weren't courageous enough

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has named an unchanged starting line-up from the side which played a "perfect game" against Zenit last week, for their Europa League last-32 tie on Thursday.

From there, Celtic were dumped out of the knockouts at the first hurdle.

The Scottish Premier League leaders failed to create much against Zenit St Petersburg, as they fell to a poor 3-0 second leg defeat which wiped out their 1-0 lead that they carved out in Glasgow just over a week ago.

The one-goal lead from the first leg was reversed before half an hour had been played in Russian Federation as defender Branislav Ivanovic put Zenit in front with a header and Daler Kuzyayev netted in the 27th minute to turn the tie in the hosts' favour.

The Scottish champions found themselves behind in the tie before the half-hour mark, as Daler Kuzyayev crashed a swerving, long-range strike past Celtic goalkeeper Dorus de Vries. "We didn't close the space..."

"We performed well in the first leg at Celtic Park, but the target was to get through and we didn't do that so we were disappointed", he said.

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Zenit's second goal also appeared avoidable as Kuzyaev, after taking an Anton Zabolotny pass, fired high past De Vries from 25 yards with the Dutchman appearing to misjudge the flight of the ball. We're too deep and have to press the guy who was shooting.

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

"We know that over the course of the two legs we need to replicate that but the players are ready for that".

This mentality has been something that has followed the Northern Irishman's career for a few years now, with many believing that he has skated by both at Celtic and Liverpool on the back of great players and a weak division.

And the change almost worked wonders instantly with the Australian having Celtic's first shot of the game with the second half barely a minute old.

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


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