BRENDAN RODGERS accepts Zenit St Petersburg will go into tonight’s Europa League tie as favourites.

However, the Celtic manager will make sure his players are up for the challenge as they pursue a place in the last 16.

Rodgers said: “It’s always going to be difficult for Scottish teams. That’s the reality.

“For us, first and foremost, our charge is to win the league and gain entry to a qualification space for the Champions League. Qualifying from here gives you greater funds to enhance your club.

“Zenit are a very big club in Russia with a lot of financial power behind them.

“They have an outstanding manager with a host of really good players. They play an aggressive style.

“Their speed in the team is good and their technique is good. They’re a real threat, so we know we have a big challenge on our hands over the two games.

“In terms of the standard of both teams across Europe, I think it’s fair to say they’re favourites.

“They won five out of six group-stage games in the Europa League, so they will come into this competition as one of the favourites with the quality they have.

“We’ve had tough games in Europe over these last couple of seasons and we wouldn’t have swapped them with anything.

“We aim now to have a really good go, playing against a top-class team and let’s see if we can get a good result over the next two games.”


About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

Loading ...