Monday 21 January 2019

Hoops hoping to bring momentum from thrilling Europa League qualification into clash with Neil Lennon's Hibs

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers acknowledges the fans. Photo: Graham Stuart/PA Wire
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers acknowledges the fans. Photo: Graham Stuart/PA Wire

Press Association sport staff

Brendan Rodgers is expecting yet another exacting encounter for his Celtic side when they visit Easter Road on Sunday.

The Hoops are still on a high after reaching the last-32 of the Europa League despite a 2-1 home defeat to Group B winners Salzburg on Thursday night.

The thrilling match against the classy Austrian outfit was the fourth of nine games in December for the Parkhead side and the Ladbrokes Premiership leaders will have to summon up their reserves to go again when they take on Neil Lennon's Hibernian in Leith.

The Antrim man said: "The games are coming thick and fast and we are putting a lot of energy into a lot of our games.

"The guys have been amazing. The level they have been at, the concentration, the effort that they are putting into every game, we have played a season worth of games already and the guys keep showing that mentality, character and humility to keep fighting and running.

"We have been playing at a really high level domestically.

"It will be a tough game for us. I am sure Neil will have his team quite energetic.

"You know what it is like playing a European game and what you face on the Sunday but we will be very focused, we will try to recover as best we can and go there expecting a tough game."

It took a late and unlikely goal from bottom-placed Rosenborg against RB Leipzig in Germany to bring Celtic Park to life and make the Hoops' result irrelevant.

The Scottish champions ultimately retained second place, two points ahead of the German side, to go into Monday's draw.

Rodgers admitted it was a "strange" experience having to look out for a result from elsewhere.

He said: "You are always looking at your own team and their performance but of course it gets to 2-0 and you hear a cheer.

"I knew something was going on because of the celebrations but it was just great to get through, that was the whole objective. It doesn't really matter how you do it."

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