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‘WE SET OUR OWN STANDARDS,’ RODGERS ON THIS WEEK’S EURO EXITS 

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CELTIC aside the League of Ireland has over the last five years or so outperformed Scottish sides in European competition.
This week say St Johnstone bow out in the first round with home and away defeats to an obscure team from Lithuania. 
While that was disappointing it was at least expected. What was unexpected was the Comedy Club dressing up as Rangers and getting beat by the fourth best side in little Luxembourg. 

Last summer Hearts were eliminated by a side from Malta.
So we are worse than the Irish and losing to  side from Luxembourg and Malta. Where now for the SPFL? Irish clubs have won 12 ties out of 58 whereas the Scottish record is nine from 56. 

Celtic’s performances are the ONLY reason that the Scottish co-efficient isn’t in the pub league category. 

Hopefully Aberdeen can put together a decent European campaign to reach the Europa League group stages. 
And of course Celtic have to play a few Irish  teams – Shamrock Rovers today in a friendly and Linfield on serious business next Friday, a fixture delayed to accommodate Orange Walks. 
Brendan Rodgers, the Celtic Treble winning manager, had all of this on his mind yesterday as he surveyed the fall-out of the European disappointment in Lithuania and disaster in Luxembourg, funny though it was.

“We create our own standards, our own benchmark here,” said Brendan. 

“We’re not reliant on any other club but of course in the bigger picture my feeling is for Scotland. I want Scotland not to have just a team but teams that can go in and represent us.

“Scotland over many years is a wonderful football nation that has produced many great footballers and managers, so it has clearly been a hotbed for football.

“There is a problem and an issue. And the only way you deal with that is getting the teams progressing by winning games in Europe.

“It is difficult. If your season finishes on May 27 and you’re back again on June 19, how early can you start?

“(SEVCO) Rangers had a month and still lost. If you’re in the England or other nations, you get four to six weeks. We’ll be three weeks and into a Champions League qualifier.

“To give the boys recovery, and mental recovery, they need some sort of break. Some of our boys got only ten days.

“The longest was three weeks. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, players still need recuperation. It’s a difficult one.

“As I said last year, in this period, you’re not going to be physically at your top level. You have to bed in the mental fitness to get them through, knowing you’ll get better physically as you go on.”

On today’s game, Celtic will field a strong side and will look for a decent, competitive match from Shamrock Rovers.

“We were looking for a game, a nice little test for us at this period of the season and we spoke to Stephen and the guys at Shamrock Rovers,” revealed Rodgers.

“They are midway through the season and they are in good physical condition, so it’s a nice game for us.”

 
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