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Brendan Rodgers expresses pride ahead of first game as Celtic boss

Former Liverpool manager sees his side face Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar.

Celtic's Brendan Rodgers speaks ahead of the Champions League qualifier in Gibraltar.
Celtic's Brendan Rodgers speaks ahead of the Champions League qualifier in Gibraltar. SNS

Brendan Rodgers has expressed his pride ahead of his first competitive match as Celtic boss against Lincoln Red Imps.

The Northern Irishman will get his first real taste of life as boss of the Scottish champions at the Victoria Stadium in Gibraltar in the second round Champions League qualifying game.

Having replaced Ronny Deila as boss, the former Liverpool manager has seen his team remain unbeaten over the course of four pre-season matches.

Now it's time for the real action to begin and asked how he was feeling ahead of the match, Rodgers replied: "Very proud.

"I am really looking forward to it, I can't wait for the game to get under way and get working and see the relationship between the game and the training we have been doing.

"We have a long way to go before we are ideally where I want us to be at, certainly all the signs so far makes me think I am really looking forward to this season.

"It is going to be an exciting year for sure and it is nice to get off to this start and hopefully we get a good performance and result."

Asked how he would approach this game against the semi-professionals from the Rock, as opposed to a team like Chelsea, the former Liverpool boss said: "There is no change.

"Celtic is always the big attraction, the big draw, the big club, we are very proud to take Celtic around the world for our supporters and players.

"Every game is a big game. There is no game that is any bigger or smaller.

"Of course you have different level of opponent but for myself and the staff that doesn't change in terms of our preparation and at Celtic there is a huge expectation on us to do well.

"So for us it doesn't change."

While Rodgers admits the artificial surface at the Imps' stadium is "never ideal", he has backed his players to overcome any potential obstacles.

He said: "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.

"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.

"Tomorrow with the pitch and the heat will make it a bit trickier but we will be ready for the whistle to go and hopefully put in a good performance."

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