Celtic sealed a dramatic 3-2 aggregate win over Astana on Wednesday.
Rodgers has backed O'Connell to shine for Celtic this season
Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers has picked out youngster Eoghan O’Connell for praise following his side's dramatic 3-2 aggregate win over FC Astana in the UEFA Champions League Second Qualifying Round on Wednesday, The Scotsman has reported.
The Irish defender made his European debut last week at the Astana Arena and kept his place in the return leg as Celtic guaranteed at least a spot in the UEFA Europa League group stages.
Moussa Dembele came off the bench to score a stoppage-time winner from the spot, after Leigh Griffiths’ penalty on the stroke of half-time was cancelled out by substitute Agim Ibraimi.
But while Rodgers was full of overall praise for his youthful team, he was particularly impressed by the contribution of O'Connell.
According to The Scotsman, Rodgers said: “I thought he [O'Connell] was outstanding. I have said before, I have been really impressed with him.
“For a young player who has been at Oldham and Cork on loan, to be put into the games he has been put into and shown that composure - he is a wonderful young footballer.
“He dominates in the air, so he wins his headers but if you want to reach the highest level you can, you have to be able to dominate the ball and as a kid he passes it very well.
“I see him in training. I don’t know how many games some players have played but if they show that temperament and composure, like he has over the couple of games, he is only going to get better and better.”
Wednesday night's late win means Celtic go into the hat for the draw for the Third Qualifying Round and could face Dinamo Zagreb, Ludogorets Razgrad, Copenhagen, Hapoel Be’er Sheva or Irish side Dundalk.
Having already been tested by the gruelling journey to Kazakhstan in this round, the Rodgers will surely be hoping for a shorter flight time as he looks to prepare his side to fire on all fronts this season.