Celtic 3-0 Lincoln Red Imps (agg 3-1): Brendan Rodgers 'relishes' Astana test

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Kazakhstan trip poses problems - Rodgers

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers was able to joke about next week's Champions League trek to Kazakhstan after an "excellent" display saw them beat Lincoln Red Imps 3-1 on aggregate on Wednesday.

Celtic's first-leg defeat in Gibraltar was one of the worst in their history.

But a 3-0 home win secured a trip to Astana in the third qualifying round.

"It's a six-hour flight, five-hour time difference, 35C+, a plastic pitch, with no water, but apart from that..!" Rodgers told BBC Scotland.

"It is another test for us and the focus now will be getting a good performance over there."

Astana drew games against Atletico Madrid, Benfica and Galatasaray in the the group stage of last season's Champions League.

And they will pose a much sterner test for Rodgers' fledgling side than the part-timers from Gibraltar, with the away leg to take place next week before the return at Celtic Park the following week.

Rodgers hopes to add to his squad before then, with defensive reinforcements a priority. "Hopefully that is the case," he said. "We would certainly like to. We will see over the coming days."

After the 'shock on the Rock' in Gibraltar, Scottish champions Celtic produced some flowing attacking football to see off the Red Imps, with first-half goals from Mikael Lustig, Leigh Griffiths and Patrick Roberts proving sufficient.

Leigh Griffiths wheels away after scoring Celtic's second goal
Leigh Griffiths wheels away in celebration after opening his account for the season

"It certainly wasn't perfect by any means, but it shouldn't be - we are only four weeks into pre-season," Rodgers noted.

"But I thought the first half-hour was excellent. There was good intensity, good pressure, good shape in our game. We scored three and could have had a few more.

"Once tiredness started to set in in the second half, the tempo of the game slowed down a bit. But the most important thing was getting through, and I thought overall, the performance was excellent."

Rodgers praised his players' ability to adapt to his methods in a matter of weeks.

"There is still a long way to go but I must congratulate the players - they have taken in a lot of concepts and ideas in a short space of time about how we want to work," he added.

The manager also saluted an "absolutely magnificent" crowd of almost 50,000 for their rousing support.

"When they are singing throughout the game like that, there are not many better stadiums in the world," he added.

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Wednesday 20th July 2016

  • CelticCeltic3Lincoln Red Imps FCLincoln Red Imps FC0
  • FC AstanaFC Astana2ZalgirisZalgiris1
  • F91 DudelangeF91 Dudelange1FK QarabagFK Qarabag1
  • IFK NorrköpingIFK Norrköping3RosenborgRosenborg2
  • Ferencvárosi TCFerencvárosi TC1Partizani TiranePartizani Tirane1
    Partizani Tirane win 3-1 on penalties
  • AS TrencínAS Trencín2Olimpija LjubljanaOlimpija Ljubljana3
    AS Trencín win on away goals
  • Dinamo ZagrebDinamo Zagreb3VardarVardar2
  • FH HafnarfjördurFH Hafnarfjördur2DundalkDundalk2
    Dundalk win on away goals

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