Tuesday 23 October 2018

Brendan Rodgers confident Celtic can bounce back after another heavy defeat in the Champions League

Brendan Rodgers manager of Celtic looks on prior to the UEFA Champions League group B match between Bayern Muenchen and Celtic FC at Allianz Arena on October 18, 2017 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Brendan Rodgers manager of Celtic looks on prior to the UEFA Champions League group B match between Bayern Muenchen and Celtic FC at Allianz Arena on October 18, 2017 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Gavin McCafferty

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is confident his players' big-game mentality can see them overcome far-from-ideal preparations for the Betfred Cup semi-finals.

The players got home from Germany about four o'clock on Thursday morning following a 3-0 Champions League defeat by Bayern Munich, and have only had one day's training to prepare for their Hampden clash with Hibernian.

But Celtic clinched the trophy last season with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Aberdeen on the Sunday after a 7-0 Nou Camp loss to Barcelona on the Wednesday.

"This situation isn't new to us," Rodgers said. "Since we have been here working together we have come back late from Champions League games, we have come back late from domestic games, and we go into the next game with a real aggressive, positive mindset.

"We play in big games, the players have succeeded in big games. The game in Bayern Munich, even though the result didn't go for us, was a great learning game for us. We will take so much from that, and that will benefit us going into Saturday's game and games after that.

"We are honest in defeat when we lose and that has always allowed us to keep going and keep the focus for the next game.

"The disappointment will be gone. We have been in the Champions League before and lost games and bounced back. We lost to Barcelona and went into the final and were absolutely brilliant. And that was a real sapping game, the Barcelona game.

"The focus is on the now and that is about preparing yourself as best you can, mentally and physically."

Rodgers believes his players have the ability to rise to the occasion - as they did when beating both Rangers and the Dons twice at Hampden last season as they sealed the treble.

"That was something we spoke about last year," he said. "If you think about the semi-finals and the finals, we played very well. We played with a composure and confidence in pressure situations, and that's absolutely vital if you are going to win trophies. So that's the mindset we will take into the game."

Hibs have come as close as anyone to ending Celtic's unbeaten domestic record under Rodgers, which now stands at 59 matches. John McGinn's second goal in their league meeting on September 30 put Neil Lennon's team 2-1 up with 13 minutes left, but Callum McGregor soon levelled a close game.

Rodgers said: "Semi-finals are normally tight games so we will anticipate likewise.

"Hibs played well in the game. We were at the back end of a long run of games and had played in midweek.

"But for us this is a different game, it's at Hampden and we have enjoyed our time there. It's a big pitch, in good condition, and the players have played very well there."

Press Association

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport