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Celtic fans can roar us to another Euro scalp: Rodgers

By Gavin McCafferty

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has promised his team will "have a go" in their demanding Champions League programme and believes the "Celtic Park experience" gives them a chance of progressing in Europe.

Rodgers aims to be "super-competitive" despite admitting the combination of Barcelona, Manchester City and Borussia Monchengladbach was possibly the most difficult draw available.

Barca are one of the many giants of European football to have discovered that Celtic Park is not an easy venue - they lost on their penultimate visit in 2012 - and Rodgers feels empowered by the atmosphere Hoops fans are able to create.

"The home games are going to be really exciting in particular, because of the level of support that we have," Rodgers said.

"I saw some quotes from the last time Lionel Messi was over here, he talked about it being the best atmosphere he had ever played in.

"Our aims are to be as competitive as we possibly can. There is no doubt we have earned the right to be here. I think everyone recognises it's an extremely tough group. You have arguably got the top teams from each of the pots all in one group. But our aim is to have a go. The games can't come quickly enough and we will aim to be super-competitive."

The list of teams who have lost in Champions League games at Celtic Park includes AC Milan, Manchester United, Benfica, Lyon, Porto, Juventus and Ajax.

Rodgers said: "The supporters will always give us a chance to progress. My experience in cup competitions is that your home games are vital. Celtic, long before my time here, it's always been difficult away from home.

"But we are not in the group just to make up the numbers. We know the teams we are up against are huge teams. So we understand the competition but it doesn't stop us fighting to do the very best we can."

But the Ulsterman hasn't been distracted from today's clash with Aberdeen. He said: "We expect a very tough game. For the majority of last season they were the big challengers. Derek (McInnes) has done very, very well.

"But we are playing at home, we have good intensity, and the focus is very good in the team."

Belfast Telegraph


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