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Celtic's Brendan Rodgers hails Scott Brown

Barcelona's Lionel Messi in action with Celtic's Scott Brown

Celtic look certain to reach the group stages of the Champions League.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi in action with Celtic's Scott Brown

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers has told The Scottish Sun that midfielder Scott Brown was "outstanding" in last night's Champions League demolition of Hapoel Beer Sheva.

The Bhoys planted one foot in the group stages of Europe's elite competition for the first time since 2013 by smashing the Israeli champions 5-2 in Glasgow.

The Scottish champions raced into a 3-0 half-time lead courtesy of goals from Tom Rogic and a double from Leigh Griffiths, but the visitors threw themselves a huge lifeline within 15 minutes of the restart by grabbing two goals back.

Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi coming up against Celtic's Scott Brown

However, Moussa Dembele and Celtic skipper Brown restored the three-goal margin in the final quarter as the Hoops look certain to advance into the group phase, though a 3-0 home win in the second leg would see Beer Sheva progress instead.

On the whole, it was a night to remember for Celtic fans, and Rodgers has singled out his 30-year-old captain for special praise.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers

“I thought Scott was brilliant," he told The Scottish Sun. “This is a guy who could play in the English Premier League. But he loves it here, his heart is here and he wants to see his career out at Celtic.

“I thought he was outstanding with the ball. His goal was a wonderful finish. His dominance in the game, you see the importance of Broony."

Brown has come in for some criticism over the past 12 months but he certainly seems to be rediscovering his best form under Rodgers, and long may it last from a Celtic perspective.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers

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