Brendan Rodgers hails Celtic fans

Celtic fans as New Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is presented after the press conference

Celtic should most definitely reach the group stages of the Champions League.

Celtic fans as New Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is presented after the press conference

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers has paid tribute to the "absolutely incredible" fans who helped the Hoops put one foot in the group stages of the Champions League, via the club's official website.

The Scottish giants look set to re-establish themselves among Europe's elite after destroying Israeli champions Hapoel Be’er Sheva 5-2 in Wednesday night's play-off first leg.

Parkhead really lived up to its nickname of Paradise as goals from Tom Rogic and a double from Leigh Griffiths helped Celtic into a 3-0 half-time lead.

Celtic fans in the stadium await the arrival of New Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers after the press conference

Hapoel pulled two goals back within 15 minutes of the second half, but Celtic re-earned their three-goal lead when Moussa Dembele and Scott Brown added further goals to spark euphoria in the stands at Parkhead.

Celtic fans have been starved of the Champions League group stages and their desperation to reach that level again shone through last night, and Rodgers has offered a big 'thank you' to the supporters last night.

Celtic's Leigh Griffiths and Scott Brown celebrate after Tomas Rogic (background) scores their first goal

“They were absolutely incredible and the support tonight really helped the players, so a big thank-you to them," he told Celtic's official website.

Rodgers was brought in to bring Champions League football back to the green half of the Old Firm divide, and the former Liverpool manager is just 90 minutes away from doing that.

That being said, football is a funny old game - as the adage goes - and Hapoel only need a 3-0 second-leg win in Israel.

Their home ground is unlikely to be the most welcoming place for an opposition team, perhaps, and the Northern Irishman will know the tie isn't over just yet.

Celtic's Leigh Griffiths celebrates scoring their third goal

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