Negative Celtic disappoint Rodgers

23 February 2018 04:46:34 EST

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers says his team were not brave enough against Zenit St Petersburg as they crashed out of the Europa League on Thursday.

The Scottish champions were in control of the last-32 tie heading in to the second leg in Russia after a deserved 1-0 victory at Celtic Park last week.

However, the Bhoys poor European away form again came back to haunt them as the Russians easily overcame the first leg deficit with a 3-0 home victory.

Branislav Ivanovic, Daler Kuzyaev and Aleksandr Kokorin were all on target for Zenit as they booked their passage through to the last-16 with a 3-1 aggregate victory.

The loss in Russia brings the curtain down on another underwhelming European campaign for Celtic, who were dumped out of the Champions League at the group stages and now have just the fight for domestic honours to focus on.

Rodgers was frustrated with his player's lack of aggression in the second leg against Zenit and felt his team had let themselves down with their showing.

"Defensively, we lacked aggression, first half especially," he said.

"We didn't close the space quickly enough. We talk about 'defending forward' and we just didn't do that well enough - and, of course, we conceded poor goals.

"We were much better than them in the first game. In this one, if we had played with a bit more courage and belief, we maybe could have got a result.

"There's still an awful lot of work for us to do, but taking a step back, there have been a lot of positives for us in both European competitions.

"We have played very well in some games and shown some great qualities. Of course, we are up against the best of the best, so there was a lot of learning taking place."

Celtic return to domestic action this weekend when they face third-placed Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

Rodgers' men are 11/20 to bounce back from the loss in Russia with a win, while the Dons are 5/1 and the draw is 3/1.

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