Celtic press conference RECAP as Brendan Rodgers eyes January transfers after one last chance to squad

Celtic head in to a Champions League final showdown with nowt to play for.

It’s only after Zadok the Priest has been played over the Parkhead PA that the misery usually starts, but Brendan Rodgers says not this time as his men will aim to respond in the strongest terms to their Killie slump but that fears of a hit for the coefficient aren’t his priority.




He won’t have Cameron Carter-Vickers, Daizen Maeda or Reo Hatate at his disposal despite the trio being a welcome sight to the Lennoxtown landscape. Feyenoord will smell blood from the defeat at the weekend but have European football already booked after Christmas, a luxury not afforded to Rodgers men.


Yet Dutch boss Arne Slot admits it’s not all bad, he reckons his side and Celtic have been woefully unlucky against Lazio and Atletico Madrid. But It’s been 10 years since Celtic won at home in this competition and the Dutch champions represent their last chance to prevent that becoming 11.

Rodgers spoke earnestly ahead of the big game under the lights, and encouraged his side to give the fans something to cheer about.

Relieve every word from the Celtic boss as it happened in our LIVE blog


Slot feels ‘sorry’ for Celtic

Arne Slot reckons he feels sorry for Celtic after this year’s dismal Champions League campaign, but says the Hoops are just as out of luck as his Feyenoord side.

The Dutch side travel to Glasgow in cruise control after securing not progression to the last 16 of the competition, but booking their place in the next round of the Europa League with third spot sewn up. It leaves Brendan Rodgers men rooted to the bottom of the group in a game some are calling a dead rubber, but with the chance to end some grim Champions League hoodoos taking priority for the Irishman. And while Celtic insist they can’t feel sorry for themselves, Feyenoord boss Slot is feeling their pain.

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McGregor puts Euro record in focus

Callum McGregor has told Celtic’s number crunchers that they have ‘too much time on their hands’ to be pouring over their European record.

And the Hoops skipper came out swinging at the stats he claims paint a skewed picture, with his Celtic side nearing the end of a dismal Champions League campaign that has so far garnered just one point against Atletico Madrid. It started badly against Wednesday’s opponents Feyenoord but Brendan Rodgers men must do all they can to ensure it doesn’t end in tears…just like their defeat to Kilmarnock at the weekend did.

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Rodgers puts coefficient woes to one side

Brendan Rodgers is more concerned with Celtic finally claiming a Champions League win than the country’s coefficient.

It’s no secret Scotland’s ranking within UEFA’s points system has suffered this season with the Hoops at the top table in Europe, but unable to do much damage with just one draw to their name against Atletico Madrid and back-to-back losses to Lazio compounding a so-far winless campaign. Only a result against third place Feyenoord would salvage something from the run on the continent, with Celtic yet to win a group stage game at home in the Champions League for over a decade.

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The fans at the heart

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers during a Celtic press conference(Image: SNS Group)

Brendan Rodgers certainly didn’t shy away from the tough questions on his side’s campaign. And while he’s not naive enough to believe there’s anything salvagable from the group, he still thinks lessons have been learned from recent poor performances.

Killie seems to be an afterthought already, and the Irishman reckons he knows what went wrong. Perhaps the most astute of his observations were on the squad size he has.

He’s told every player that come January they’ll have had chances across a number of levels and that an assesment will be made. That’s a clear message to those on the fringes that a deadline is set to perform.

Ultimately, he echoes fans frustration and realises a statement performance and win is much needed.

Killie aftermath

It’s recovery mainly, we analysed it. The beauty and great value of the game at the weekend was that we know where the issues were. At St Johnstone the intensity wasn’t right and we fixed that. We didn’t play with the poise we needed to in the second half but at least we saw that.

We can take the learning in to the game tomorrow.

Injuries and pile-up

It can be down to the situation we have with injuries and all the games we have played before and after this game. It does give them players a chance to play. I think by the time we get to January there’s lots of players in this squad that will all have had a chance to play games and through different levels and it can be assessed from there. We always put out a team to win. At Celtic there’s no gifts, no free games, every game is to win.

Disappointingly we won’t have Europe after Christmas, but we’re playing for pride here and the support. We’ll pick a team tomorrow to fight for the right result.

Coefficient poser

It’s based on how you do now in the present. If we have success at the level then that tags on with the rest of the coefficient but ultimately we’re here to perform for Celtic and do the very best that we can, gain points and wins, that will always improve the standing.

Group standings

Our attitude in the game is exactly the same, to win the game. We do that by playing our way, I think we showed at the weekend once we change from that we don’t have the same quality.

Our strength is to play the way we want to, we’re facing a good side. We want to do everything we can to get our supporters involved.

Rodgers speaks

They won’t be involved but for the weekend they willl hopefully be available.

No Maeda and CCV

Daizen Maeda and Cameron Carter-Vickers WON’T be involved tomorrow.

The pair were back training at Lennoxtown but won’t make it for the game according to Brendan Rodgers.

That means the Irishman has to shuffle his pack again, with the connondrum of who partners Liam Scales proving to be a puzzle again. And on the wings? Step forward Yang, James Forrest, Luis Palma and Mikey Johnston to battle it out for a place.

And despite a welcome sight of Reo Hatate back in training, he also won’t be fit for the game.

A muted but measured skipper

That was short and sweet for McGregor and no doubt he’ll want to do his talking on the pitch.

The man is a top pro whatever way you look at it, but he did concede fans would have bought tickets for this game thinking it would be a grand-stand finale. In fact it is the opposite but he has shifted the responsibility off the fans and to the squad.

A strong message.

Dead rubber?

We have to bring a level that gets fans of the seat. It’s a busy period, fans coming here after work to come to the stadium during the festive period but it’s about us. We have to perform to get them involved.

Everyone was expecting a shoot-out, but it will still be exciting.

UCL problems

We need to score goals, everything else in between is good. What happens in both boxes is the determining factor. You can have all the great play we want. We have to be strong in both boxes, we create chances and take one when we could have two or three.

We’ve switched off at times, it’s a game of concentration at this level. We have to be on it for 95,96 minutes and have a complete performance to get something.

Losing the way

We’re on the right track, first game we’ve lost this season. It’s a timely reminder that games can be difficult. We have to play with our indentity, to force that on teams.

McGregor speaks

Here’s the captain’s first thoughts as he arrives

You’ve got a turnover of players, and missing four of your key players this season. Squad is stretched. You add games and that’s where problems come.

We have to stay strong, we know every game everyone wants to beat us. They give everything, we have to deal with that and find a solution.

Chance to switch up?

Will Rodgers look to shuffle his pack against the Dutch side?

Hearts loom on Saturday at Celtic Park and with points dropped last weekend, a huge burden comes when Steven Naismith’s men roll in to town. Perhaps the lure of Champions League football can motivate some players on the fringes to get a chance?

Tomoki Iwata, Oh and Paulo Bernardo are a trio of names to get chances in recent weeks, but the likes of Gustaf Lagerbielke and Maik Nawrocki might feel aggreived not have had a start with Nat Phillips underperforming.

Expected soon

The man himself is expected to arrive soon, skipper Callum McGregor will also speak at the conference.

We’ll have every update as they drop.

Lessons learned?

Celtic’s Callum McGregor, Alistair Johnston and Hun-Jun Yang

The issue at De Kuip was discipline according to Brendan Rodgers.

Two red cards to Gustaf Lagerbielke and substitute Odin Thiago Holm had Celtic having to navigate choppy waters in their opening group game. Fast forward to now, and despite zero wins in the competition, Rodgers insisted before the Lazio game his side had shown they could compete.

Unfortunately for him, that’s a tale Celtic fans feel they’ve heard too often. But the Irishman won’t stand for any ill-discipline when it comes to kick off tomorrow night.

Slotting right in

Arne Slot’s men come to Glasgow in stellar form.

In fact the only downside to Feyenoord’s season so far has been the Champions League campaign but they, unlike Celtic, have European football booked after Christmas. As the Hoops lost to Killie, the Dutch beat Volendam 3-1 but did narrowly lose to top of the table PSV earlier this month.

They will be hoping to wrap up their campaign in style after beating Celtic 2-0 at home back in September.

Some burning questions

Brendan Rodgers

So what will be on the agenda this afternoon?

It’s a Champions League press conference but in truth questions about the group are null and avoid. Celtic are out and Feyenoord are to the Europa League so some might say there’s nothing to play for…or is there?

A win in the group earns you a nice little kitty from UEFA, and that’s something that could help Rodgers with his January transfer plans. No doubt there may be a question on that, in a reflection of how badly the group campaign has gone.

Kilmarnock will get a mention for their heroics at the weekend, and the Celtic boss will field questions on the returning Carter-Vickers, Maeda and Hatate that were all spotted in training.

And what about his long-term agenda? To make Celtic a force in Europe was high on the list in his summer return, but it’s been the wooden spoon this year. Lots to think about…

He’s BAAAAACK

His name is Reo and he dances on the pitch.

A long-awaited sight for Brendan Rodgers who embraces his Japanese midfielder upon a return to training at Lennoxtown. Whether or not he will throw the engine room operator in at the deep end against Feyenoord remains to be seen.

No doubt Rodgers will be quizzed at his presser on Hatate’s recovery…watch this space

Feyenoord will make ‘mincemeat’ out of Celtic

Celtic have been told Feyenoord should be able to ‘make mincemeat of them’ by a man who knows all about failure at Parkhead.

Raging flop Derk Boerrigter reckons there’s a storm coming Brendan Rodgers’ way when the Dutch outfit roll in to Glasgow on Wednesday night with the hope of resigning the Hoops to a winless campaign in the Champions League. The Dutchman was signed by Neil Lennon from Ajax in 2013 but was about as useful as a chocolate teapot in the Scottish Premiership, being injured constantly before managing just one goal in 26 appearances across three years. Yet he’s turned his sour grapes into a taunt that Arne Slot’s men will run over their Euro rivals.

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On the box

Greg Taylor

It may be the definition of a dead rubber, but Celtic fans need some pride back after another winless campaign so far in the playground of Europe’s rich and famous.

The dismal Champions League group stage is almost over, which most might see as a blessing as a wait for a first home win in the competition for a decade goes on.

A draw with Atletico Madrid is the closest they’ve come this time around and there’s just one chance left to end the hoodoo.

Feyenoord can’t qualify either, but they are safe in the knowledge that the Europa League lies in wait for them next year. It’s the opposite picture from the Scottish Premiership champions, however.

Defeat again to Kilmarnock has put the title race back in to gear, with Parkhead punters in dire need of a statement win. No better place than Europe’s top table for Rodgers and his men to somewhat bring back the good faith installed upon his return to the club in the summer.

Record Sport has all the information you need for the big game under the lights in Glasgow. READ MORE

Back in contention

Daizen Maeda in Celtic training(Image: Sky Sports)

There was a much needed double boost for Celtic as Cameron Carter-Vickers and Daizen Maeda both made their returns to training.

The American international centre back was badly missed at the weekend as the champions lost their first Premiership match of the season away at Kilmarnock.

He sat out with a hamstring issue and replacement Nat Phillips turned into his own net to draw Killie level after Matt O’Riley had fired the Hoops in front.

Matty Kennedy’s late winner capped a miserable afternoon for the league leaders, whose lead now sits at five points having played a game more than Rangers.

Maeda could also be set for a return to action after over a month out with an ankle injury.

He suffered a double whammy in the 6-0 Champions League thumping by Atletico Madrid, hurting himself in making a challenge that a VAR review sent him off for in the Spanish capital, after initially being shown a yellow. READ MORE

Good afternoon!

Welcome!

It’s press conference day ahead of Celtic’s final Champions League group stage clash against Feyenoord.

League defeat was less than ideal preparation at the weekend, but the Hoops will be desperate to go out on a high after making hard work of yet another campaign.

We’ll have all the latest right here on the LIVE blog.

Reference

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