Celtic head out to Athens capable of winning says Brendan Rodgers

Glasgow Football 

We have players capable of getting a result in Athens

Brendan Rodgers’ side headed out to Athens this afternoon ahead of the second leg of their UEFA Champions League third-round qualifier against AEK Athens.

The tie is finely-balanced after the 1-1 result at Celtic Park last week, although the Greek side will go into the game on Tuesday night full of confidence, having scored a vital away goal in Glasgow.

However, the Celtic boss believes that his side’s performance on the night showed that they are capable of securing a positive result and a place in the play-off round of the competition, where either Malmo of Sweden or FC Vidi of Hungary await.

And Craig Gordon has reiterated his manager’s confidence, while also acknowledging that the team still face the toughest of tests in the Athens Olympic Stadium. Celtic have already seen off Alashkert of Armenia and Norwegian side, Rosenborg, in the previous rounds, keeping a clean sheet in both away ties, and that could be key against the Greek champions.

Speaking after Saturday’s disappointing 1-0 defeat against Hearts at Tynescaste, the Celtic goalkeeper said. “It was a fairly close game against Hearts. There weren’t many big chances in the game. It was a scrap from start to finish, and one strike ended up in the bottom corner and they got the win, but I don’t think there was much in the game.

“We would have looked to carry a bigger threat but we ended up giving away a bad goal and lost the game. But if you look at our team, it was still strong enough to have won the game. There was one good finish in the game and that was the difference, so I don’t think we can go looking for too many excuses. We just didn’t get the job done.

“Now we’re looking ahead to the game against AEK Athens, and it’s a massive opportunity for us to go and put in a good performance and try to get through to the next round.

“We are slightly behind in the tie so we have to go there and be very positive and we’ve definitely got the players and the team capable of going there and winning the game.

“That’s what we’ve got to concentrate on now. We have to recover from the game on Saturday but now all the focus is on trying to get through to the next round.”

Picture Jeff Holmes


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