BRENDAN RODGERS reckons Astana will provide a different Champions League challenge to Celtic than Rosenborg when the teams meet in the play-off first leg at Parkhead on Wednesday.
And the Hoops boss has  pinpointed Ghanaian striker Patrick Twumasi as the Kazakhstan kings’ dangerman.
Rodgers said: “It’s going to be a tough game for us and the first game will be important.“At home, the atmosphere is incredible in the Champions League games and we’ll need that on Wednesday night.

“We’ll see if we can get a positive result to take over there, but Astana are different to Rosenborg.
“The Norwegians were a very good team, they make you work and play a really good style of football. Astana have less structure, but have individual qualities in their players.

“Twumasi is being linked with a move away and he’s fast, direct and dynamic. I can see why other clubs would want him.

“But we’ll go and be aggressive with them to try to get a good result. We got the better of them over two games last year with a last- minute winner. This tie won’t be won on Wednesday.

“Our approach will be to dominate the game and I just hope nerves are not a factor. I don’t think they will be because we were under pressure in Rosenborg.

“We made 750-odd passes in that game, we were dangerous and played with composure. I don’t think nerves will come into it.

“Sometimes there can be a wee bit of anxiety in the crowd when you’re so close to the group stages.

“But we’ll get incredible support and, hopefully, the team will perform.”
The new CQN Podcast is out today…

Episode 8 of ‘A Celtic State of Mind’ finds Paul John Dykes and Kevin Graham discussing a variety of topical subjects concerning Celtic Football Club, including:

* The quest for 7-in-a-row begins;
* Jozo Šimunović: Made of Stone;
* The Champions League – Astana preview;
* James Forrest: The enigma;
* Nir Bitton – Case for the defence.


This week’s big interview is with legendary Scottish football broadcaster, Archie Macpherson, who speaks about Jock Stein, Neilly Mochan, Charlie Tully and John McPhail, as we approach the 60th anniversary of the 7-1 game.

50,000 Celtic fans can’t be wrong…

Connect with A Celtic State of Mind @PaulDykes and @CQNMagazine and listen to the new podcast at the following link:


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