Ivanovic inspires Zenit as Celtic implodes

Rodgers watches intently as his Celtic players undergo final preparations in St Petersburg

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers believes there are some positives to take from the club's Europa League defeat last night.

The former Liverpool manager expects Zenit, who because of the winter break in Russian Federation played their first competitive game in two months at Celtic Park, to be more attacking in front of their own supporters.

Despite a very impressive 1-0 home win over Zenit St Petersburg, the Hoops lost 3-0 in the return leg.

Still, a goal was all Celtic needed to go through to the last 16 but in the 61st minute striker Aleksandr Kokorin, who had previously scored against the Hoops for Dinamo Moscow, made it 3-0 on the night and 3-1 on aggregate.

While De Vries had little chance with the opener, he would have expected to do better with Kuzyaev's strike that put Zenit in charge of the tie in the 27th minute. "We didn't close the space..."

Rodgers changed things in the second half with Tom Rogic coming on for Kouassi Eboue to give Celtic a more attacking edge going forward.

An expensively-assembled Zenit side had looked rusty in Glasgow in their first competitive game in two months due to Russia's winter break. In this one, if we had showed more courage and more belief, we could have got a result.

"There's still an very bad lot of work for us to do, but taking a step back, there have been a lot of positives for us in both European competitions".

"We played a ideal game really in how the players defended and attacked".

"We were one step away from the miracle", said Napoli's Brazilian midfielder Allan.

"Dembele was very good and aggressive, Ntcham was good and Brown always is, he is excellent for the team", Rodgers said, as quoted by STV. At the beginning of the first leg, I was being a realist as everyone would probably expect Zenit to go through, but what we showed in the first leg is that we're going to make it very hard for them and going to make it really competitive.

Visiting coach Maurizio Sarri named a strong team, and Piotr Zieliński's first-half goal gave Napoli hope.

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