Rodgers: This is why I'm surprised by Champions League meeting with Gibraltan minnows
By Dominic Toner
Brendan Rodgers has revealed he is surprised to be meeting Lincoln Red Imps in Celtic’s Champions league qualifier.
The Gibraltar side defeated Estonian outfit Flora Tallin on Wednesday 2-1 on aggregate, to set up matches against the Scottish champions.
He told The Glasgow Evening Times: “I was surprised that Lincoln are through if I’m honest. From our reports, the Estonians were the better side in the first game.
“Our only issue is that it gives us a day less. If we’d been playing in Estonia, we’d have been on Wednesday night. Now the game is Tuesday and that’s a quick turnaround. But we will deal with it and look forward to it.”
Nonetheless, Celtic will be heavily expected to progress through the qualifiers with several of the opposition semi-professional footballers.
Subscribe to Football Insider TV now
They will still have to come through a further two more ties if they defeat Lincoln to reach the Champions League group stages, which is something they have failed to do in the last two seasons under Ronny Delia.
To clinch a group-stage spot in Europe’s biggest competition they could be faced with either Legia Warsaw, Dinamo Zagreb, BATE Boris, Ludogorets or FC Copenhagen in the fourth round.
Rodgers’ team completed a 2-1 friendly victory over Olimpija Lubjana on Wednesday, as Leigh Griffiths grabbed a brace and new signing Moussa Dembele impressed fans on his debut.
New signing Dembele could well make his competitive debut in the away leg on Tuesday 12 July.
In other Celtic news, midfielder Callum McGregor has revealed what has gone up a level under the new manager.