Brendan Rodgers: Celtic can use emotion from supporters against Lazio

The Celtic boss aims to deliver a memorable European night at Celtic Park.

Brendan Rodgers hopes Celtic can channel the emotion from the support on another big Champions League night as his side take on Lazio.

The Scottish champions began their campaign with a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Feyenoord in Rotterdam but hope to use home advantage to get points on the board against Serie A runners-up Lazio.

Rodgers said that he hopes his team can “bring the emotion down on to the field” and deliver a memorable result and another great European night.

“It’s such a special feeling,” the Celtic boss said. “It was part of coming back that here at Celtic you have the chance to qualify for European football and this is the biggest stage you can get in club football.

“In terms of result, it was not a great start in the first game but I saw many aspects that I was pleased with the team. But to come here and play this game is always special.

“It’s getting that emotion from the support that rolls down from the stands onto the pitch and that’s what we have to use. So for us from the first whistle we go straight to fifth gear, look to give everything to the game and perform.

“We know at this level, teams like ourselves, we have to be 100%. 98% and you will come unstuck. We have to be at 100% and give everything, and we will do in terms of spirit.

“It’s where this team is at and what they are developing.

“I see a mental strength in this team that is growing all the time and with new players coming in and starting to understand that. In our last league game we showed what we had which is a competitive spirit that whatever time of the game it is, we will keep going.”

That last match was a dramatic Premiership win at Motherwell, where Luis Palma’s late goal was cancelled out in injury time by Blair Spittal, only for Matt O’Riley to score a last-gasp winner for Celtic.

Rodgers will have to make at least one change for Wednesday’s test, with Gustaf Lagerbielke suspended after his red card in the Netherlands, but he had welcome news on his defensive options.

Liverpool loanee Nat Phillips is fit to play, while defensive stalwart Cameron Carter-Vickers could also be available ahead of schedule.

“In terms of Nat, he came through fine so he will be available,” Rodgers said.

“Cam, we wouldn’t take a risk unless he was fit. He has come through really, really well. He is further down the road than we thought.

“He has had a real good week of training and he’s been doing lots of other work out on the field before that.

“I said before that it (his return) might have been after the international break but he’s made great progress, so we will just assess that to see if he can be in for the squad (on Wednesday) and if he is, then obviously it would be great news for us.”

While Rodgers has his immediate focus on defeating Lazio and furthering Celtic’s European ambitions, he also gave his thoughts on domestic rivals Rangers sacking manager Michael Beale, saying the Englishman was “an outstanding young coach”.

“I’m always saddened when any manager loses their job, no matter what club they work at,” he said. “When you manage Celtic or Rangers, they’re big pressure jobs.

“I’m sure Michael will go away and reflect on his time here and no doubt he’ll come back in again. He’s an outstanding young coach and manager.

“He’ll reflect on the pressure he was understand, the expectation and the stress this job can bring.

“He will learn from it and get another job and make a success out of it, I am pretty sure. Whatever club, whoever it is, it’s not nice when someone loses their position and I hope for him the best for the future.”

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