BRENDAN RODGERS insists Celtic will have to fight for everything they get in the Champions League.

The Irishman has guided the Hoops through two previous qualifying campaigns and he is going for the hat-trick as he prepares his team for the opening tie against Alashkert in Armenia this evening.

Rodgers said: “I think year on year, we’ve got better at it. It was only really the 20-minute period away in Astana last year where we found it difficult.

“Apart from that, the players have been very, very good throughout all the games.

“This year we go into it again, but you’re not entitled to qualify. You have to earn the right and that’s something we always speak about. Celtic are respected throughout Europe because of the history and support-base, and when the team has qualified.

“We’ve had a good couple of seasons here with this group of players. We understand that it’s never easy, but, as long as we stay calm and focus on our own game while respecting the other team, that always gives us a good chance.

“We’ll work hard over this phase of the qualification to get through. You always know there will be hairy moments along the way, but we want to be in it.

“Potentially, we have a hectic schedule of games ahead of us ,but it’s where the competition is.

“We’re proud to be in it, we’ve earned the right to be in it, and we’re working to, hopefully, qualify again.

“To do three on the spin would be brilliant.”


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.

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