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Celts escape my longest 90 minutes, says Brendan

By Jim Gracey

Relieved Brendan Rodgers admitted he suffered "probably the longest 90 minutes" of his managerial career as Celtic scraped through to the Champions League group stages, despite a 2-0 defeat fright against Hapoel Be'er Sheva in Israel last night.

Celts squeezed through 5-4 on aggregate, thanks to their 5-2 home leg win but were left hanging on as the battling Israeli side whittled down the lead to a single goal by the 48th minute.

A third Hapoel goal would have sent Celtic spinning out of the multi-million group stages and they also had keeper Craig Gordon to thank for a 15th minute penalty save.

Carnlough man Rodgers admitted his Celtic side rode their luck, saying: "It was probably the longest 90 minutes I have faced as a coach. This match was purely about resilience and persistence and it was an amazing effort by the players."

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