Zenit defender Branislav Ivanovic has admitted that he and his team-mates were shocked by Celtic’s performance in the first leg of the Europa League tie between the sides, and he now considers the Hoops favourites to go through.
The three-times Premier League winner with Chelsea watched the game from the sidelines with an eye injury, and was impressed with Brendan Rodgers’ side who dominated the game from start to finish, eventually winning 1-0 thanks to a goal from Callum McGregor.
“Celtic were great, I was really surprised by them. They played very well. They were compact, aggressive, a very good team” he said, as quoted by the Daily Record.
“We’ll have to change a lot of things to be on top of the game next week in Russia. Celtic are probably favourites but we still believe.”
The great performance by the Hoops was even more special when you consider that the Bhoys had almost an entire first XI out injured and after weeks of poor recent performances.
The Bhoys will look to keep the momentum going when they return to league action against St Johnstone on Sunday.
A victory in the game will take the Bhoys 11 points clear of second placed Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership table, following the Dons’ 2-0 defeat to Hibernian.
Brendan Rodgers is expected to make changes to his side with the second leg against Zenit on Thursday in mind, which means there could well be starts for the likes of Jack Hendry, Scott Sinclair and the returning from injury Tom Rogic.
In other Celtic news, Chris Sutton is a big fan of Eboue Kouassi