Celtic vs Anderlecht - Rodgers wants to reward Celtic fans with home UCL success

Posted Tuesday, December 05, 2017 by PA

Boss Brendan Rodgers is looking to give Celtic fans a Champions League send-off by qualifying for the Europa League against Anderlecht on Tuesday night.

The Hoops go into their final Group B fixture three points ahead of the Belgian side thanks to their 3-0 away win in September.

Paris St Germain and Bayern Munich are already qualified for the knockout stages and Anderlecht arrived in Glasgow knowing they have to equal or better that result against the Scottish champions to take third spot and ensure Europa League football after Christmas.

The Belgian club's boss Hein Vanhaezebrouck all but wrote off his side's chances, telling STV: "We're not even talking about qualifying, we're just talking about making a good result, that's the most important thing for us."

Rodgers is focusing only on giving Hoops supporters the first home group stage win in his two seasons as manager.

"For us it is 0-0," said Rodgers, who confirmed striker Moussa Dembele and midfielder Nir Bitton return to the squad after recovering from knocks.

"We want to win the game but of course you have to pay attention to a good opponent.

"But we haven't overly thought about it, we have been busy with lots of other games but in this game we have to be tactically ready and prepared and we know if we do that then that can equate to a good result for ourselves.

"We got a great result over there and we look to finish it off at home.

"We played very well. Anderlecht will be disappointed being at home and us winning quite convincingly.

"They changed their coach so they will look at that as a positive. They will come to attack and look to get a victory - but that is what we want to do as well.

"We want to give the supporters a Champions League victory at home.

"We have been in two campaigns now, this is obviously the last game.

"It has been absolutely brilliant. The supporters have been incredible for us home and away but it would be nice for us to finish with a victory at home and take us to six points which will show a real level of progress."

Anderlecht boss Vanhaezebrouck is bracing himself for a "devastating" start by Celtic on Tuesday which could kill off already faint hopes of an unlikely Europa League placing.

Speaking before his side trained at Celtic Park, Vanhaezebrouck, who was not in charge when the sides met in September, outlined the problems his side could face in front of a packed stadium.

"It's not important to score very quickly, not important at all," he said. "For us, the ultimate thing is to score three times more than Celtic. The timing of the first goal isn't important at all.

"We can score halfway through the second half and still go for it.

"You can say we're going to try to score in the first five minutes - and then you lose a goal in the first five minutes and it will be doubly hard.

"I can already predict what's going to happen tomorrow. There will be noise as soon as we come on the pitch. The crowd will be behind them - and they will fly like hell.

"So we are going to have to be ready because the start will be possibly devastating.

"If we can survive and stay level, then maybe we have a chance to do something.

"But to overcome the three-goal difference to continue, everything has to be perfect and we also need all the luck in the world.

"So the chances are really, really small. But that's not our main goal.

"I can't go and tell the team we need to win by three goals. We have to be realistic. Aim for a win, a draw even would be a good result. Winning would be fantastic."

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