THE BIG STORY: Everyone at Celtic is unsurprisingly delighted after our 5-0 win over Astana last night - we’ll have the match report and player ratings up on the site today - which all but guarantees the club’s participation in this season’s Champions League.
Brendan Rodgers preached caution ahead of Tuesday’s second leg, suggesting that the tie isn’t over yet, but in his mind even he must know that Celtic did enough to qualify last night, and he admitted that Celtic were ‘outstanding’, and admitted to Steven Gerrard that playing against his former club Liverpool in the competition would be a thrill.
Gerrard: Would you relish Anfield return?— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) August 16, 2017
Rodgers: They must be paying you to say that!
Gerrard quizzes Rodgers. pic.twitter.com/OIeK1VgVgf
Brendan also had praise for Nir Bitton, who again played in the unfamiliar centre-half position. Two goal hero Scott Sinclair described the performance as ‘unbelievable’ and Leigh Griffiths - who had an excellent game - thought that it was a ‘complete performance’ whilst former Celt Chris Sutton described Brendan Rodgers as a miracle worker.
"What Brendan has done to this team is nothing short of a miracle!"— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) August 16, 2017
Chris Sutton is in awe of the job Rodgers has done at Celtic pic.twitter.com/wvFYxMX2mv
The win just showed how far this side have come in a year, as last season we needed a last minute penalty to defeat Astana 3-2 on aggregate, and only a year later we demolished them, and that’s without the likes of Moussa Dembele and Dedryck Boyata featuring. The future is anything Brendan Rodgers and Celtic want it to be.
OTHER NEWS: The Bhoys from GIGPOD’s latest episode was recorded in the aftermath of last night’s triumph, and you can listen to it here.
The good news is set to continue at Celtic, as it seems that Stuart Armstrong is finally set to agree a new contract with the club in the ‘next 48 hours’ according to Brendan Rodgers. Armstrong had been linked with Swansea yesterday but it seems that the lure of playing for Celtic was too strong and let’s hope that after he signs the deal he can knuckle down and return to his excellent form of last season.
ON THIS DAY: In 2013, Celtic defeated Aberdeen 2-0 at Pittodrie, with goals coming from a Kris Commons penalty and a late second goal by James Forrest. Interestingly this game was £60 million man Virgil Van Dijk’s competitive debut for Celtic.