Roberto Mancini praises Celtic fans ahead of Zenit tie

FC Internazionale Milano head coach Roberto Mancini looks on during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale Milano and Empoli FC  at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 7, 2016 in Milan,...

Brendan Rodgers’s Celtic will face Zenit Saint Petersburg in the Europa League this week.

Head coach Roberto Mancini of FC Zenit Saint Petersburg gestures during the Russian Premier League match between FC Spartak Moscow and FC Zenit Saint Petersburg at Otkrytie Arena stadium...

Zenit Saint Petersburg manager Roberto Mancini has spoken highly of the Celtic fans to The Daily Record.

Russian Premier League club Zenit will take on Scottish Premiership outfit Celtic at Celtic Park in Glasgow in the first leg of the Europa League round of 32 tie on Thursday evening.

Ahead of the match, former Manchester City manager Mancini has spoken highly of the Celtic supporters.

Head coach of FC Zenit Roberto Mancini during the Russian Premier League match between FC Rubin Kazan and FC Zenit Saint Petersburg at Kazan Arena stadium on November 5, 2017 in Kazan,...

Mancini told The Daily Record: “Celtic are a great team, with some really good players, and they’ve got a top manager who I know all about.

“To play at Celtic Park will be difficult for us because those supporters are incredible. The crowd will be fantastic for the first match but for us, it’s a great place to play football.”

FC Zenit Saint Petersburg head coach Roberto Mancini gestures during the Russian Football League match between FC Zenit St. Petersburg and FC Rubin Kazan at Saint Petersburg Stadium on...

Home leg key

Zenit will probably head into the two-legged tie against Celtic as favourites, but the first leg will be key.

If Brendan Rodgers’s side want to progress to the next round of the Europa League, then they have to win at Celtic Park without conceding a goal.

The Celtic fans will have to play a role in that. Celtic Park is one of the toughest stadiums for opposition teams, and the stadium has to be intimidating for the Zenit players.

Celtic have some wonderful attacking players, and the Glasgow giants should be looking to score at least twice against Zenit.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch