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Rodgers backing Bhoys to bounce back in style

 

By Ronnie Esplin

Brendan Rodgers expects a positive response from his players after a bittersweet defeat against Anderlecht on Tuesday.

The 1-0 loss at Parkhead saw the Hoops achieve their goal of qualifying for European football after Christmas in the shape of the Europa League, but they were disappointing on the night.

Rodgers was critical of his side's performance following the defeat - which saw them cling on to a credible third-place finish in a Champions League group also containing Paris St Germain and Bayern Munich - and expects his players to respond well against Hibernian tomorrow.

It will be the third time the two sides have met this season, with both previous matches coming immediately after a European clash.

Rodgers is confident his players will be able to put aside the disappointment of Tuesday in time for the trip to Easter Road.

When asked if he expected a positive reaction, the former Liverpool and Swansea boss responded: "We've always had it.

"After Champions League results - good or bad, it doesn't matter - we always go into the next game with a real freshness and energy to get a good result.

"Our overriding emotion is that it wasn't the most desirable result during the week in order to get to where we want - which is the Europa League - but we got there.

"I have a brilliant group of players who are very honest, and we know where we're at."

Celtic travel to Edinburgh to face a Hibs side who have gone as close as any to ending their long unbeaten run domestically in a 2-2 draw at Celtic Park earlier this season.

Despite a punishing schedule, which has seen his side play Motherwell three times in a week before the Champions League tie, Rodgers is looking forward to his first game at Easter Road.

"I'm looking forward to going there," he said. "On Tuesday we played our fourth game in nine days, they were all physically taxing. The only benefit going into Sunday is we've had a bit of extra preparation time to recover.

"I went to Hibs last year and thought the atmosphere was brilliant. Neil (Lennon) has done an outstanding job there.

"The two games we've played this season have been tough but we go into it with the confidence that, if we play to our levels, it gives us a good chance."

Hibernian vs Celtic

Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership

Easter Road, Tomorrow, 12.30pm

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