Glasgow - Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has urged
supporters to be patient after they needed a stoppage time penalty to edge past
FC Astana in their Champions League third round qualifier.
The Hoops earned a 2-1 win thanks to a penalty from Moussa
Dembele with the game on the verge of extra time after Leigh Griffiths'
first-half stoppage time penalty had been cancelled out by a second half strike
from Agim Ibraimi.
The result sealed a 3-2 aggregate win over the Kazakhstan
side, who finished with just nine men on the pitch after Igor Shitov was
sent-off for his costly foul on Dembele and Dmitri Shomko saw red for his
protest at the awarding of the penalty.
Former Liverpool boss Rodgers praised the Celtic support
from their backing during the game but also asked them to trust in his game
plan after claiming the players felt the tension coming from the stands as the
Hoops probed for a second half winner.
"The supporters were unbelievable for us tonight but
the only thing I would say to them is I think they need to show a little bit of
patience as well," Rodgers, who joined the Glasgow giants in May, said.
"I'm a Celtic supporter. I know what they want and how
desperately they want it but they put the players on edge at times tonight.
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"In modern football teams are organised so if you can't
play forward and you can't play sideways then you've got to come back. But when
you come back we shouldn't be on edge because we're coming back. We have to
circulate the ball to get out the other side and try and provoke them to become
disorganised and then hopefully score a goal.
"Hopefully going forward instead of having that
edginess the supporters will trust the players and trust our game model and how
we work and like we seen tonight we can eventually get there.
"But apart from that it was a wonderful atmosphere from
a brilliant support that again pushed us over the line."
The Scottish champions could now face Croatian side Dinamo
Zagreb, Ludogorets Razgrad of Bulgaria, Danish champs Copenhagen, Hapoel Be'er
Sheva of Israel or surprise qualifiers Dundalk from the Republic of Ireland
when the draw for the play-off round is made on Friday.
And Rodgers said he had no preference about who he faces as
he looks to guide to the lucrative group stages of the Champions League for the
first time in two years.
"It is the final step. There was always going to be
three tough rounds," the Hoops gaffer said.
"The guys who've had experience of it here tell me that
sometimes the first two rounds are the most difficult.
"That was a difficult test for us. I think when the tie
was made everyone felt that we'd do well to come through this.
"But I thought over the two games we showed different
elements of our game and we deserved to go through.
"Now we have one final step to go and we'll see what
Friday brings us but certainly it gives the players great belief and hopefully
gives the supporters great belief."For
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