BRENDAN RODGERS would have preferred to play Partick Thistle in the Premiership yesterday, instead of a glamour friendly with Inter Milan in Limerick.

Celtic warmed up for their Champions League play-off first leg with Hapoel Be’er Sheva with a 2-0 defeat against the Italians in the International Champions Cup. 

Rodgers left the majority of his first team starts at home, where the club had been scheduled to play a Glasgow derby against the Firhill side at Parkhead.

Looking ahead to the crucial European confrontation, the Hoops boss said: “We’ve played about seven games in 20-odd days, so it was the perfect preparation for us.

“But my own feeling, coming up to Scotland, is I don’t think we should be playing a friendly. That’s my personal take on it. 

“The league has started, we should be playing competitive football.

“We had a lot of friendlies already and to come here commercially it’s great, for the fans it great, we travel the world and we want to take the team around.

“But, from a football perspective, I’d rather be playing a competition.

“The players back home worked really hard on Saturday morning, they weren’t sitting on their holiday, they’re getting ready for Wednesday.”

Left behind were skipper Scott Brown, Craig Gordon, Scott Sinclair, Kolo Toure, Eoghan O’Connell, Leigh Griffiths, Kieran Tierney, Patrick Roberts, Moussa Dembele, Nir Bitton, Tom Rogic, Callum McGregor and James Forrest.

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