Rodgers experiences ‘mixed emotions’ as Celtic get past Astana

Celtic lost 4-3 against FC Astana in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League play-off round but an 8-4 aggregate win has seen them qualify for the next round.

The Hoops 5-0 win in the first leg at Celtic Park proved invaluable as goals from Scott Sinclair, Olivier Ntcham and Leigh Griffiths in Kazakhstan diminished any chance for FC Astana to make a comeback in the round.

“It’s mixed emotions because we didn’t defend well enough and our possession at times wasn’t good enough either,” said Brendan Rodgers after the game.

“I said to the players (at half-time) we started the game very well. We wanted to control the tempo but we were too loose in our passing and our positioning, we weren’t compact enough when they had the ball. That didn’t allow us to press.

“I thought we were going to get through this campaign without the anxiety but that little period (at the start of the second half) they scored two quick goals. We were working on the side to plug gaps.

“I then have to give credit to the players because they were on the ropes for 15-20 minutes, but they regained their composure.”

Veteran midfielder Scott Brown was critical of his side’s performance in the defeat saying that Celtic were ‘too open’ in the game which resulted in Astana putting four goals past Craig Gordon.

“The first game at Celtic Park was phenomenal for us, not so much coming over here but we knew we would score goals. It was an exciting game for the neutral but not so much for us.

“If you look at the shots on target it was 19-20 shots on target, it was a game of basketball and it’s not like us to be perfectly honest. Usually we are very tight and we were a bit too open today.”

Celtic will host St. Johnstone on Saturday in a Scottish Premiership fixture.

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