Rodgers tells his Hoops to keep calm and carry on
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 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 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 .” 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.”