By Tom Blackburn
Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers is counting on the experience of his players to give the club the perfect start to their Champions League campaign on Tuesday night.
The Scottish giants have travelled to Gibraltar to face Lincoln Red Imps in the Champions League second qualifying.
In an interview with STV, Rodgers said he had full confidence that his teams experience and skill would shine through against a lesser opposition.
“The beauty of our boys is they have some experience of it back home, they play on some artificial pitches and what I have learned with this group is they cope with pretty much everything,” said Rodgers.
“They cope with long journeys, travel and they don’t bat an eyelid, they just get on with it because they are so keen to work and improve. I think it will be the same tomorrow.
“Pitches like that suit your technically-based players and thankfully we have a lot of technically-based players, but other than that I am pretty happy with the team that I am thinking of playing.
“This game presents us with an opportunity early that we have to take.
“We have watched Lincoln, they are very workmanlike, they have won over the course of two games to play against us, so we will give them that respect.
“But the focus is on ourselves, it is a job that we have to do over the course of two legs.”
Celtic fans were given a boost on Monday morning, when BT Sport agreed to show the tie live from Gibraltar after initial coverage plans were dropped.
Red Imps are the country’s record champion with 22 league titles, the last 14 of which have been consecutive, and in 2014 they were the first team to represent Gibraltar in the UEFA Champions League.
Celtic have won the last five league titles in Scotland, but the last four have lacked the challenge of rivals Rangers.
This season sees the return of Rangers to the top flight and they are expected to pose an instant threat after four years in the wilderness.
New manager Brendan Rodgers has been busy in the transfer window signing attacking pair Moussa Dembele and PJ Crossan and is now being linked with a move for Blackburn defender Shane Duffy.
In other Celtic news, they have lined up a bid for a winger as Rodgers refuses to take no for an answer.