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‘SAME AGAIN, CELTIC,’ URGES LEGEND

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CELTIC legend Davie Hay has urged Brendan Rodgers to stage an action replay when the Hoops travel to Russia for Thursday’s Europa League second leg against Zenit St Petersburg.

The champions will attempt to protect their 1-0 advantage, handed to them courtesy of Callum McGregor’s superb volley 12 minutes from the end of a pulsating occasion on Thursday night.

Now Hay has said: “Same again, lads!”

The former Parkhead player and manager admitted: “If I were in Brendan Rodgers’ shoes, I think I would be tempted to put out the same starting line-up next week.

“In what was one of the best performances this season – and certainly one of the most sustained displays – Celtic played with an aggression and energy and have ensured that they head to St Petersburg with a real chance.

“Not only would I be tempted to go with same personnel, but I’d also be tempted to go with the same formation because it worked so well.

“The way Celtic were set up meant that they had complete control of the middle of the park against Zenit.

“That, in turn, makes sure that the defence is afforded an additional layer of protection and you saw that with the few chances that Roberto Mancini’s side created.

“I thought Moussa Dembele led the line so well and it was a powerful performance that underlined just what it is he brings to the team when he is on it.

“The French striker didn’t get on the scoresheet, but his work-rate and hold-up play was impressive and it was Dembele’s tenaciousness in the first place that actually set up the chance for Callum McGregor’s goal.

“But, in fairness, there wasn’t a poor player throughout Celtic’s team.

“The substitutions were made at the right time and the way they started the game just set the tempo that Celtic were able to go on and sustain.

“Crucially, too, the players and the support were able to feed off one another. The way Celtic went into the game gave them something to shout about and then the response lends an energy and vibrancy to the way the players perform on the pitch.

Hay added: “However, I don’t think anyone will need reminding that it is only the halfway stage.

“Few would have expected Celtic to prevail over the course of this tie against a team who were able to invest £77million into their playing squad this season.

“I don’t think there is any doubt the fact Zenit haven’t played a competitive game since December had a bearing on how the game went, but nor should that detract from how Celtic went about their business.

“They will go to Russia next week and I don’t think they will feel as though it is beyond them to get through the tie.”

 
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