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Rodgers' pride as Celtic soar on the European stage

Anderlecht 0 Celtic 3

On the road: Leigh Griffiths takes the acclaim after setting Celtic on their way. Photo: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
On the road: Leigh Griffiths takes the acclaim after setting Celtic on their way. Photo: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

By Ronnie Esplin

Brendan Rodgers believes the roots of Celtic's long-awaited away win in the Champions League were planted last year. The Hoops finally tasted success on the road for the first time since 2012 as they breezed past Anderlecht in Group B thanks to goals from Leigh Griffiths, Patrick Roberts and Scott Sinclair.

Although they did not manage to win last season, they put in some spirited displays away from Celtic Park and Rodgers thinks that was important.

"We go back to last year, with our away form we grew in confidence," he said.

"At Borussia Monchengladbach we played very, very well, Manchester City in our last group game we played very well.

"This was our first away game this year and I thought the result was absolutely brilliant.

"In spells with the ball we were very, very good. At times I still think we are embarrassed to have the ball for long periods.

"You can see we are growing at this level, the three goals were fantastic and the boys deserve a huge amount of credit because it was a great performance, especially on the back of a tough game at the weekend.

"It takes experience and time and it takes belief. Results like tonight give you that belief. The overall performance was outstanding and it's a great reward for the supporters."

Skipper Scott Brown, who limped off with a hamstring injury with 20 minutes remaining, says this current crop of Celtic players are "creating history".

"It's right up there," he said. "Our away form has not been the best but it's a fresh team now and we are creating history going away from home and winning 3-0. Hopefully that's us going to kick on now.

"It was great, we had a huge result at the weekend and it was good to bounce back and do it again in the Champions League."

Striker Griffiths lit up a dull first half at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium with a poacher's goal from Kieran Tierney's 38th minute delivery and, five minutes after the break, Roberts' drive took a deflection in off substitute Kara Mbodji.

Anderlecht's interim boss Nicolas Frutos stood on the sidelines frustrated as Rodgers' side withstood everything the Belgian champions could throw at them before Sinclair scored a breakaway third in added time.

Celtic lost 5-0 at home to Paris St Germain on match day one with Anderlecht going down 3-0 to Bayern Munich in the other Group B game.

If nothing else, the Glasgow club's second-ever away win in the competition - their last was against Spartak Moscow in October 2012 - takes the Scottish champions a long way to ensuring European football after Christmas.

It was was a hugely significant result for Celtic as they had failed to register a win in the group stages last season, the first under Rodgers.

Anderlecht: Boeckx, Chipciu, Spajic (Mbodji, 44 mins), Dendoncker, Deschacht (Stanciu, 57 mins), Appiah, Hanni (Bruno, 70 mins), Gerkens, Trebel, Onyekuru, Teodorczyk. Unused subs: Sels, Beric, Sowah, Harbaoui.

Celtic: Gordon, Lustig, Simunovic, Boyata, Tierney, Roberts (Forrest, 78 mins), Ntcham, Brown (Bitton, 70 mins), Rogic (McGregor, 65 mins), Sinclair, Griffiths. Unused subs: De Vries, Dembele, Armstrong, Hayes.

Man of the Match: Kieran Tierney

Match rating: 7/10

Referee: Jesus Gil Manzano (Spain)

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