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Relieved Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers set for spending after Imps win

By Ronnie Esplin

Brendan Rodgers is hoping to add to his Celtic squad before they face Astana in next week's Champions League third-round qualifier after side-stepping the banana skin of last night's Champions League second round return against their first leg nemesis, Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar.

The Hoops got through to the next stage with a 3-0 win over the part-timers who embarrassed them last week, completing a 3-1 aggregate win.

Three first-half goals from defender Mikael Lustig, striker Leigh Griffiths and winger Patrick Roberts settled the tie before the break with the second half a mere formality.

Rodgers (right) was pleased to get past the Gibraltarians and will look to bolster his options before Thursday night's deadline, and before the long trip to Kazakhstan.

Asked how realistic the prospect of signing some new players would be, he said: "Hopefully, that is what we are looking at.

"There is no doubt we need one or two more players in that I want to bring into the team so let's hope we can do something before that window closes tomorrow.

"That would be the plan, hopefully we could do that and that would be a great boost to the squad."

When asked about the travel difficulties of getting to Kazakhstan with a team still working on its fitness, the former Liverpool boss, tongue firmly in cheek, said: “I mentioned it the other day to some of the guys.

“Apart from the six-hour flight, and the five-hour time difference and the 35 degree heat and the plastic pitch with no water, it should be all right.

“But it is what is thrown at us. I think you just need to adjust, we will probably fly out on the Monday, the game is on the Wednesday and just prepare the best we can.

“We have to find a way to get a performance and a result.”

Rodgers was pleased by the way his side overwhelmed the battling semi-professionals, although he admits there is still more to come.

He said: “I was very pleased with the first 30 minutes. I thought the crowd was incredible and the players felt that support.

“Overall I was pleased to get through, it certainly wasn’t perfect, there is a way to go for us in terms of where I want us to be.

“But I am delighted with the attitude with the players, they scored three and their goalkeeper has probably stopped it maybe being double figures.

“But we are through and that is the most important thing.

“We have a game on Saturday (against Leicester) and then we will look forward to the game next week which will be another difficult tie on a plastic pitch but we will be ready for it.”

Meanwhile, Dundalk will face BATE Borisov in the third qualifying round after they defeated FH Halfnarfjordur on the away goals rule, the two sides drawing 2-2 in Iceland.

The two sides drew their first match 1-1 in Dundalk, meaning the Airtricity League outfit go through courtesy of two David McMillan goals last night.

It looked like the tie was going against the Republic of Ireland side when Sam Hewson opened the scoring for the hosts and then Dundalk’s Ronan Finn had a penalty saved early in the second half.

But McMillan was on target twice in the second period, which was enough to send Dundalk through and set up a tie with the defending Belarusian champions BATE.

Belfast Telegraph


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