Football

Video: Brendan Rodgers Insists Celtic’s Champions League Dream is Still Alive

Video: Brendan Rodgers Insists Celtic’s Champions League Dream is Still Alive

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers has insisted his side’s dream of reaching the Champions League group stages for the third consecutive season remains alive, despite Wednesday night’s disappointing draw with AEK Athens.

The Hoops hosted the Greek champions looking to build-up a lead ahead of next week’s return match, but were held to a 1-1 draw after a frustrating evening in the East End of Glasgow.

When Callum McGregor riffled in the opening goal after just 17 minutes, it looked like the Hoops were well on their way to victory, but Viktor Klonaridis levelled things up just before half-time following a desperate bit of defending from the home side, giving AEK a priceless away goal.

However, despite the disappointing result, Rodgers is remaining upbeat, and insists his side put in a ‘very, very good’ showing against their tough opponents:

Speaking to the media after the full-time whistle, via the Sun, Rodgers added: “We can score in Athens – I don’t think there’s any question about that.

“We will have enough of the ball to think that we have the players of quality that can score.

“Of course we are going to have to defend well too. It was always going to be a difficult game whether we were 1-0 up or at 1-1.

“I always felt we would have to go over there and score anyway, so it is very much still I the balance.

“It swings a bit to them because they’re at home, but we certainly know we have the quality to go and perform after seeing that this evening.

“I think everyone was thinking the same thing at this stage last year, going out to Rosenborg and wondering if we could get a result knowing it was going to be tough out there.

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“But we went there and produced a really good performance and won the game. I don’t see any reason why we can’t do that again here.

“We respect that they are a good side, but we also showed tonight that we can play well, dominate the game and create chances.

“We’ll need to put in a big performance of course, but I have great confidence in the players to do that.”

Celtic will be without Kristoffer Ajer for next week’s return match, leaving them even more short-handed in defence.

Do you think the Scottish champions will still qualify for the playoff round? And if they don’t, how big a blow will playing Europa League football be?

Let us know in the comments section below…

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