Rosenborg v Celtic (agg 1-3)

Celtic take a 3-1 lead to Trondheim, with AEK Athens waiting for the winners in the next round

BBC coverage

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Brendan Rodgers says continuity in his Celtic squad is just as important as attracting new players as they bid to reach the Champions League group stage.

Celtic lead hosts Rosenborg 3-1 before the second qualifying round decider, with AEK Athens to meet the winner.

Rodgers is without Dedryck Boyata, Moussa Dembele, Leigh Griffiths, Lewis Morgan and Marvin Compper and the suspended Jozo Simunovic.

“We come with an advantage,” said Rodgers before Wednesday’s match.

“Like every European game away from home, you’ve got to defend well, you’ve got to be strong and we know as we’ve seen that we can score goals.

“Nowadays, it’s always about wanting to get new players and lots of players but I also enjoy the continuity of coaching and seeing players improve and seeing their games continually develop.

“We want to strengthen the squad of course but at this point in time what is most essential is that you build a mentality and a quality to hopefully get through the qualification games.”

Celtic’s incoming transfer business so far this summer has been to formalise moves for striker Odsonne Edouard and goalkeeper Scott Bain, who had been on loan, while Scott Allan, Ryan Christie and Lewis Morgan have returned from loan spells.

Sweden right-back Mikael Lustig, who like Belgium defender Boyata featured at the World Cup, is back in Celtic’s squad as they bid to repeat last season’s feat of knocking Rosenborg out of the Champions League qualifiers.

“We had a really good experience here last year,” said Rodgers of last season’s 1-0 away win, which sealed an aggregate victory by the same scoreline.

“Rosenborg is a fantastic club with a great history. This game probably 10, 20 years ago would’ve been a real group stage Champions League game. It shows you that evolution of the Champions League that it’s now a qualification game just to even get there.

“We played really, really well last year when we were here but it doesn’t really count for anything. It’s a very good pitch, it will be a tough game.

Rodgers is hoping for a third successive Champions League group stage appearance

“We’ll always have respect for Rosenborg because they’ve got very good players and they showed in that opening 20 minutes of the game last week that they can cause you a problem. After that period of the game, we played exceptionally well and had real fluency and showed a real threat in our team so we hope to play that way tomorrow as well.”

Rosenborg interim manager Rini Coolen accepts his side will have to “take some risks” to overturn their deficit, though a 2-0 win for the hosts would send them through on away goals.

“Celtic deserved the win last week and in the end we were lucky that we didn’t lose more goals,” said Coolen.

“But hopefully we can do some things differently. We are playing at home and we have our supporters.

“We have a chance to win the game but we have to create those circumstances and yes we have to take some risks and yes we have to give away some spaces, but we will not open the door.

“Sometimes things happen that you don’t expect but realistically, it will not be easy. Celtic have a bigger chance to go through than us but it doesn’t mean that we don’t have a chance at all.”


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