Rodgers unveils plan for Kazakh challenge
Brendan Rodgers welcomed the familiarity of recent foes Astana after Celtic were drawn against the Kazakh side in their Champions League play-off.
The Hoops beat the Kazakhstan champions in last season's third qualifying round 3-2 on aggregate.
The fixtures are reversed this year with the first leg at Celtic Park on Wednesday, August 16, and the return six days later.
Rodgers, who confirmed defender Erik Sviatchenko will miss the ties as he will be out "probably up to six weeks" with a medial ligament injury, declared himself "happy" with the pairing.
"The beauty for us on this one is it is not the unknown," said the Northern Irishman.
"We played them last year and qualified so we know what it is like out there; hotel, AstroTurf pitch, virtually the same players.
"It will be as tough as last year but we look forward to it and will be ready for it."
The Celtic squad will again have a seven-hour flight with a five-hour time difference and Rodgers will stick with last year's preparations.
He said: "We stayed on British time because there is the time difference which can really throw you.
"You are not sure if you are having your dinner or breakfast but it certainly helps you. You couldn't really do it over a sustained length of time but when it is only a short trip, to throw your body out sometimes isn't ideal.
"We did last time and it worked well for the players."
Celtic begin the defence of their Scottish Premiership title today against Hearts, who will have Jon Daly in interim charge following the departure of head coach Ian Cathro.
The 31-year-old, who was in his first managerial role, was sacked on Tuesday following the Jambos' League Cup exit after seven months in charge.
"I have real empathy with Ian," said Rodgers. He had some excellent jobs, particularly in Europe. So he is obviously no fool and a very good coach."
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