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Celtic can sink Zenit by producing repeat performance: Lustig

By Ronnie Esplin

Mikael Lustig believes Zenit St Petersburg will now know all about Celtic's qualities after their 1-0 Europa League defeat at Parkhead on Thursday night.

The big-spending Russian club, favourites for the last-32 tie, were given a chasing for most of the 90 minutes in the first leg in Glasgow.

The energetic Scottish champions were rewarded for their superiority in the 78th minute when midfielder Callum McGregor fired high into the net.

The result gives Ulsterman Brendan Rodgers' side a deserved advantage for the second leg in Russia next Thursday.

Asked what message the game sent out to Roberto Mancini's side, the 31-year-old Sweden defender said: "That we are good footballers.

"When we are going forward we are flying and we create a lot of chances. We kept the ball really good as well.

"If they didn't know that we are a good team before they know it now."

Lustig believes Celtic - who host Ulsterman Tommy Wright's St Johnstone in the league tomorrow - can take as much confidence from the performance as the result, which came against a side who had not played a competitive game for over two months.

He said: "Of course it is a good result, and to keep a clean sheet and get three points.

"But the performance probably gives us more confidence, especially the first half. We went straight at them, created a lot of chances and were really solid in defence.

"We haven't been satisfied, we gave away a couple of cheap goals in the last couple of weeks so we are satisfied with a clean sheet.

"Everyone from Moussa Dembele down to Dorus de Vries helped a lot, we worked hard as a team, it was brilliant.

"It will be a tough game next week. We are going to be humble, we know we face a really good team but this type of performance gives us more confidence."

Meanwhile, highly-rated defender Scott McKenna insists his focus is solely on Aberdeen despite being linked with a move away last month.

The 21-year-old was subject to several bids from Hull in the transfer window but the Dons rejected all offers to keep hold of their centre-back.

It has been an impressive first full season in the Ladbrokes Premiership for McKenna, who has earned rave reviews and been talked about as a future Scotland player after breaking into the Aberdeen team, but he is refusing to get carried away by off-field talk.

"It's good that there is praise and people speaking about you," he said ahead of his side's trip to face Hibernian today. "But you have just got to put that to one side and concentrate on yourself.

"You cannot get carried away thinking you're this and that, I've only played 20 games in the SPFL so I have to keep my feet on the ground."

McKenna was made aware of Hull's interest during the Dons' trip to Dubai for warm-weather training. He has no problems with the club turning down bids of over £500,000 and hopes to kick on in his career at Pittodrie.

"The manager (Derek McInnes) pulled me over in Dubai when Hull put in an offer and told me I was going nowhere unless there was a ridiculous bid," he explained.

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