Celtic drew 1-1 with Astana in Kazakhstan.
The Hoops faced off against their Kazakhstan hosts after progressing to the second round via a 3-1 aggregate win over Gibraltan side Lincoln Red Imps, with the Glasgow side suffering defeat in the first leg.
Not many gave Celtic much of a chance in the opening tie, and once Yuri Logvinenko gave Astana the lead after just 19 minutes via a finish from a corner few would have predicted anything other than a home win.
However, the Scottish Premiership champions responded well and fought back bravely in the second period, Leigh Griffiths deservedly grabbing an equaliser with 12 minutes remaining.
Celtic will now head in to the second-leg at Celtic Park with a real chance of progression, and Rodgers his side showed plenty of mental strength after conceding to secure a fantastic result.
“It was an outstanding result for us. The resilience and strength, mentally, we’ve built-up over the course of pre-season came into effect on an evening like that,” Rodgers told Herald Scotland.
“We were disappointed with the goal, that’s nothing new, but after that we showed wonderful mentality to keep fighting. In the second-half we restricted them to not so many clear chances and we end up scoring a fantastic goal. It’s only half-time but it’s a very important result for us.”
Celtic will progress to the next round if they can keep a clean sheet in Glasgow, and Astana’s need to score a goal will no doubt suit Brendan Rodgers’ men as they can play on the counter.
The embarrassing 1-0 defeat to Lincoln Red Imps in Gibraltar now seems a long time ago for Celtic, and this result in Kazakhstan has shown how the team has progressed over the past few weeks.