Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers: Astana rout shows progress players have made

16 August 2017

Brendan Rodgers expressed his pride after his Celtic side all but guaranteed their place in the Champions League with a 5-0 thumping of Astana in the first leg of their play-off at Parkhead.

Returning midfielder Tom Rogic's strike in the 31st minute was helped into his own net by defender Evgeni Postnikov before attacker Scott Sinclair added a second three minutes before the interval.

The former Manchester City and Aston Villa player notched his second on the hour mark, winger James Forrest grabbed a fourth and a drive from Leigh Griffiths took a deflection off Igor Shitov for number five.

The Hoops knocked the Kazakhstan outfit out in the third qualifying round last season 3-2 on aggregate and only a remarkable turnaround next Tuesday will see Celtic lose out on the reported £30million-plus riches from Champions League participation.

Rodgers said: "I was really proud. It was a great demonstration of the progress the players have made over the last season.

"They had physical courage but they showed ability to be composed and handle the ball and have a belief in our shape and that was perfectly demonstrated.

"It was an outstanding team performance. We had good organisation, scored five goals and missed one or two chances.

"It was very complete in many aspects of how we work, a brilliant performance.

"We don't have to win but we want to go there and perform well. We have to complete the second leg and finish the job off."

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