Brendan Rodgers shares what he told Celtic players before Astana win

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers

The Hoops reached the Champions League play-off stages with a 2-1 victory last night.

Celtic Manager Brendon RodgersCeltic Manager Brendon Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers has revealed that he stressed the important role his substitutes would play before last night’s win over FK Astana, in an interview with the club’s official website.

Moussa Dembele was a notable absentee from the starting line-up while Kolo Toure wasn’t deemed fit enough to start the game.

Both players came on in the second-half and made a telling contribution, with the former hauling Celtic in the play-off stages with an excellent striking performance.

Celtic's Moussa Dembele celebrates after scoring their second goal from the penalty spotCeltic's Moussa Dembele celebrates after scoring their second goal from the penalty spot

“I said to some of the guys before the game that sometimes it’s about the team that finishes the game as opposed to the one that starts it, and there would have to be big contributions for players coming into the game,” said Rodgers.

“I thought Kolo Toure came in and showed his experience and was outstanding, but it’s great when you’re a goalscorer and get the goal. He’s been playing catch-up on his fitness but he’s got quality and that’s why he was coveted by so many teams.

“He showed great composure for a boy that’s just turned 20 years of age to score his first goal and I think when he scored that you saw the relief for him. Now he can really move on from that,” he added.

Celtic's Moussa Dembele celebrates scoring the second goal with teammatesCeltic's Moussa Dembele celebrates scoring the second goal with teammates

The 20-year old did indeed show great maturity and responsibility to guide his team through the tie and Celtic fans will be hoping his penalty kickstarts a rich vein of form.

Toure meanwhile, quickly demonstrated the strength, composure and leadership he will bring to the Hoops’ defence and Rodgers will look to get him fully integrated into the first-team over the next two weeks.

Celtic's Kolo Toure in actionCeltic's Kolo Toure in action

Rodgers has done well to overcome a defensive crisis and get Celtic to the play-off stage but he now has the opportunity to bolster the squad before the next round and it’s an opportunity he must take.

Celtic will have to navigate a two-legged tie - with fixtures being played on the 16-17th and 23-24th of August - and will learn of their opponents in tomorrow’s draw in Nyon, which gets underway at 11am.

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