Monday 16 December 2019

Bhoys look to bounce back in Granite City

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers Photo: Getty
Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers Photo: Getty Sportsdesk

A disappointed Celtic party flew into Glasgow yesterday to learn they would have been drawn against Red Bull Leipzig in the last 16 of the Europa League had they been able to capitalise on the 1-0 lead they took to St Petersburg for their encounter with Zenit.

Instead, they were undone by a pallid performance strewn with defensive errors which consigned them to a 3-0 defeat in the old imperial capital.

Brendan Rodgers and his players, however, have no time to indulge contemplation of what might have been because the demands of the domestic fixture list send them on another stopover trip, this time to face Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership at Pittodrie tomorrow.

The Dons, too, were victims of a setback last time out, in their case a 2-0 loss to Hibernian at Easter Road.

Aberdeen have at least had a week to recover from their below-par performance in Edinburgh, but Kristoffer Ajer, Celtic's 19-year-old Norwegian central defender, discounted the notion that the champions would be vulnerable after their setback in St Petersburg and the long journeys to and fro.

"We performed well in the first leg at Celtic Park, but the target was to get through and we didn't do that so we were disappointed," he said.

"We need to look at what we could have done better and take that experience into future European games."

Celtic are entitled to travel to the Granite City with confidence in their record against Aberdeen since Rodgers has been in charge - eight wins from as many meetings, six in the league and two in the domestic cup finals.

Irish Independent

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