Celtic played near-perfect first leg, claims Brendan Rodgers


Highlights of the Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and St Johnstone.

Rodgers may opt to retain the midfield quartet of Scott Brown, Olivier Ntcham, Eboue Kouassi and Callum McGregor.

That season Martin O'Neill's side lost to Villarreal in the quarter-finals of European football's second-tier club competition.

"Of course we would have liked to have one or two more goals but our concentration and quality was at a really high level so we know that over the course of the two legs, we need to replicate that tomorrow evening and the players are ready for that".

"That will be our idea going into the game and we will look forward to working that way". But we know what to do, we know how we have to play.

He said: "The manager mentioned after the game that we played like men and with maturity, and the more games we play at this level, we seem to be getting more comfortable". We've been playing different formations and styles against top-quality teams.

"We had a great result at home against Zenit but we do not want to get carried away".

"We have got Federation Internationale de Football Association approval for it and we are very confident it will perform well when Zenit play Celtic in the Europa League".

'If we do that, we have a great chance of going through.' Last Thursday night was a world removed from Ajer's last match in Europe, a Champions League qualifier against Astana in Kazakhstan back in August.

The Hoops take a one-goal advantage to Russian Federation with them thanks to midfielder Callum McGregor's superb strike with twelve minutes remaining in last week's first-leg.

"Zenit are predominantly a counter-attacking team", Rodgers said.

"But we showed in the first leg how well we played".

The Celtic manager also questions the noises coming from the Zenit camp that they will be able to raise their game decisively in front of their own supporters. We played a flawless game really in terms of the way we defended and attacked.

'They gave us a really good fight but we were up for the game and I felt we pressed them really well. And then look to go from there and create opportunities.