Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers insists his side have the character to beat Astana in their Champions League play-off qualifying tie on Wednesday and says the Hoops are ready to show their opponents how much they have matured since last year’s clash.
Celtic edged out the Kazakhs 12 months ago as they successfully battled through to the group stages.
Now they will face off again in their final play-off tie as another slot among the biggest clubs in Europe and a potential £30m windfall goes up for grabs.
Rodgers needs little reminding of what is at stake for his club but believes his players have developed the broad shoulders they will require to march on.
“If you think too much of the consequence you may not sleep,” he said. “But the only way you can get through it is by staying really focused, staying in the present and on what you have to do.
“What the players have built up is this ability to handle pressure and an ability, emotionally, how to deal with the big games.
“I can remember at this stage last season, in the second game with Astana, there was all this emotion around it. I think it’s to the huge credit of the players how they have come through that.”
The former Liverpool boss is confident his men will give their all at Celtic Park and believes they can turn pressure into positive energy.
“We’re a more mature group as a result,” he added.
“In particular the last game in Rosenborg, there was a lot of pressure and a lot of focus on the boys but they came through it and they stayed calm and composed.
“So it’s the same concept. You understand what’s in the game and where you want to be, but there’s no-one who wants to be in it more than us.”Euro Soccer Bonus
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