Rodgers tells his Hoops to keep calm and carry on
Parkhead: Celtic manager focused on Hibs after Champions League win
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers will leave Champions League last-16 dreams to others as he deals in reality.
The Scottish champions responded to a 5-0 defeat by big-spending PSG in their Group B opener with a stunning 3-0 win against Anderlecht in Brussels on Wednesday night.
It was only the Hoops’ second away win in the tournament and in next month’s double-header they face German giants Bayern Munich, who sacked Carlo Ancelotti this week after losing 3-0 to the French side.
Ahead of the Premiership visit of Hibernian today, the Northern Irishman, who will be without captain Scott Brown and fellow midfielder Stuart Armstrong through injury, was keen to keep it all in context.
He said: “It is very easy for me, I am always aware of what the reality is. We were playing against an Anderlecht team which was probably double our budget.
“So, it is very easy to look at the reality of where the likes of Bayern Munich and PSG are but it is great Pep Guardiola insists Sergio Aguero has nothing to apologise for after being injured in a car crash in Holland on his day off.
The Manchester City attacker suffered a broken rib in a road accident in Amsterdam on Thursday and is expected to be out for between two and four weeks.
Aguero had been in the Dutch capital for a concert for supporters and people to dream. I live in the real world with the players and we only focus on our next game.
“If you go to Anderlecht and don’t get the result then you are chasing in the next two games and then it can all come down to the last game.
“For us it is one win and one loss in what is a really tough group but, ultimately, the confidence and belief the players have gained from it is huge.”
First comes the intriguing return of Neil Lennon to Parkhead today as the Hoops looked to extend their unbeaten domestic run to 58 matches.
Rodgers has no doubts performed by Colombian singer Maluma. He was travelling back to the airport at around 11pm when, as he posted on Twitter, the taxi he was in “made a wrong turn and crashed against a pole”.
“It was a very heavy slam, but seatbelts prevented it from being worse,” he said.
He was treated in hospital in Amsterdam overnight before being assessed by City doctors on his return to Manchester on Friday.
“Hurts, but I’m fine, about Lennon’s qualities and said: “It is not an easy job to do but to move from playing to becoming a manager and having the four years here and the success he had, was absolutely magnificent.
“It didn’t work out at Bolton but he came up and you can see how he has reinvigorated Hibs.
“He is a Premier League manager and has the qualities to manage there.”
The Hoops struck a blow for Scottish football this week when they beat Champions League rivals Anderlecht 3-0 in Brussels.
Hibernian defender Steven Whittaker concedes it will take a perfect showing from his side if they are to avoid the same fate as the Belgian giants.
The Scotland international said: “It will be difficult. They have talented players all over the park and we need to try to match them.
“We need to try and frustrate them when it’s on to frustrate them, keep the ball when it’s on to keep the ball.
“We need to be at the top of our game and look to take the game to them .” fully focused on recovery,” he added.
The issue has raised questions of why Aguero was allowed to travel abroad two days before a big game, but Guardiola has no concerns.
He said: “I only knew this morning when I woke up. I don’t want to know what my players do.
“If they are fathers, they have a full responsibility on their shoulders on and off the pitch. They know what they have to do.
“He’s strong enough. He travelled in a private jet.
“I am not the police. I don’t know what the supporters think. Some of them can be upset, some not, but at the end it’s fortunate the injury is not bad.
“He’s healthy, he’s alive. The most important thing is he’s okay.”
Asked if the late night was a problem, Guardiola said: “We trained at 11am not 8am, so he would have had enough time to rest.”
Aguero is likely to be back in action within a month and could even return in time for the Premier League match at home to Stoke on October 14.
He will miss the league leaders’ trip to champions Chelsea on Saturday and will also be unavailable for Argentina’s crucial upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Peru and Ecuador.
However, fears he was in line for an extended layoff appear to have been unfounded and there is the possibility the Stamford Bridge clash could be the only game he misses for City. In-demand attacker Louis Moult feels he owes Motherwell after an uncertain summer at Fir Park.
Moult was regularly linked with a move away from the club in the summer and is out of contract at the end of the season, but that will not stop him from giving his all.
The 25-year-old, who has played for nine clubs in his short career, has scored 45 goals at Well since joining two years ago, and he admits the influence of manager Stephen Robinson has had a huge impact on his time in Scotland.
The Well forward, whose side hosts Partick Thistle today, said: “I have massive respect for him, and Ian Barraclough at the time – they bought me.
“This football club took a bit of a gamble on me. They don’t pay for many players but they paid for me, so it’s a massive compliment and I do feel like I need to repay this football club.
“I feel like I’ve been doing that and I’ll continue to do that.”
Partick Thistle midfielder Ryan Edwards is hoping to force his way on to the international scene with Australia.
Edwards was called up to a 30-man squad in March, but has since failed to make squads for the Confederations Cup or subsequent World Cup qualifiers.
However the energetic midfielder knows he is not too far away, despite missing out on the latest squad picked by Ange Postecoglou to face Syria in next week’s play-offs.
He said: “I’d love to be involved but since last March it hasn’t been the case.
“The midfield is the strongest part of the squad, so it’s going to be difficult but to be honest I feel like I’m close and within touching distance.
“I know they’re watching and keeping tabs on all the players, including myself, so it’s just a matter of keep playing well and doing well and hopefully my time will come.”