By Coral Barry
Brendan Rodgers has praised the performances of his three youngsters Eoghan O’Connell, Patrick Roberts and Kieran Tierney after Celtic’s 1-1 draw with Astana.
Leigh Griffiths’ late equaliser means Celtic return to Glasgow with a vital away goal after going behind early on and Rodgers admitted he was delighted with his young stars.
O’Connell was starting in the Champions League for the first time in his career after several injuries to Celtic’s centre-back contingent forced his inclusion.
The Hoops boss said the Irishman did not let him down and sang his praises after the game.
“I thought O’Connell was outstanding as a young player coming into that environment,” said Rodgers as quoted by the club’s Twitter account.
“Proud of him and the young players.”
O’Connell played 90 minutes in the clash and looked composed through-out as Celtic dominated possession.
However, he and the rest of his Celtic teammates were guilty of switching off in the final seconds of the game and should have been punished when an Astana player found himself unmarked just yards out.
Despite the obvious frailties in the Celtic side, Rodgers was quick to point to the youngster’s mental toughness in a difficult game in Kazakhstan.
“The two 19-year-olds in Roberts and Tierney, they kept fighting,” said Rodgers. “Eoghan is 20, others young too and they showed an ability to fight.”