£13m BENKOVIC’S LEARNING CURVE

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FILIP BENKOVIC is hoping to get the nod from Brendan Rodgers to make his Celtic Europa League debut against Rosenborg at Parkhead tomorrow night.

The classy Croatian central defender, who agreed a season-long loan deal from Leicester City last month, made his first Hoops appearance in the goalless draw against St Mirren in Paisley on Friday.

Benkovic, who cost the English outfit £13million from Dinamo Zagreb in the summer, lasted an hour before Rodgers changed the formation and put on Leigh Griffiths in the hope of a breakthrough goal.

The 21-year-old is looking forward to a special European occasion in the east end of Glasgow where the Norwegians were beaten 3-1 in an earlier round of the Champions League qualifiers and said: “This will be a very good experience for all of us and we all want to make sure that we play good football and get a good result.

“We have a tough group, but we believe in ourselves and in our opportunities. The only way we’ll get a good result is by working as a team and I believe we will do it.”

Benkovic reflected on his top side baptism against the Saints and said: “I was very happy to make my debut, but, unfortunately, it was not the result we wanted. It’s a very physical league and I like that as I think I can improve in this area. I know I can do better at that level.

“I have enjoyed meeting my new team-mates and training with them. The atmosphere among the group is good and I know I can learn from these players.

“There are a lot of fixtures coming up and, for me, I just want to improve in training and give everything I can to prove I deserve to play.

* Benkovic was speaking to Celtic TV.

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