Brendan Rodgers has said that he is “really proud” of Celtic after they thrashed Astana 5 – 0 in the first leg of their Champions League play-off.
Last season Celtic knocked the Kazakhstan team out in the third qualifying round defeating them 3 – 2 on aggregate and it is now looking extremely likely that Celtic will reach the group stages this season.
Speaking before the weekend Rodgers said, “I was really proud. It was a great demonstration of the progress the players have made over the last season. They had physical courage but they showed ability to be composed and handle the ball and have a belief in our shape. That was perfectly demonstrated. It was an outstanding team performance. We had good organisation, scored five goals and missed one or two chances.”
Rodgers also said that Rogic, who was forced to come off the pitch after sustaining a head knock, is now fine and back to normal.
Furthermore, he also said that Stuart Armstrong is set to sign a new deal with the team, “Hopefully Stuart will imminently agree a new extension. Hopefully we will announce it in the next 24 to 48 hours which will be absolutely brilliant for us. As I have said he is a player whom I have huge admiration for, this is the place for him to develop and he is a vital member of this squad.”
Stanimir Stoilov, Astana’s boss, had predicted that his team would reach the group stages before the game. Speaking afterwards he said that his team made mistakes and were punished by Celtic who were “playing high-class football.”
“We need to work if we are to play in the Champions League in the future. We will try not to lose at home. If we win it will be a good result for us. We have great support at home and we will play better at home.”