Rodgers keen to bring Celtic back to Champions League


Brendan Rodgers says he and his players will give it their all in attempts to return Celtic to the Champions League, ahead of their play-off first leg against Hapoel Be'er Sheva.

Falling to Malmo at the same stage last season, the Scottish champions have not qualified for the competition in three years, and it is a streak Rodgers says his side is keen to end.

The two-time finalists will face a tough task in Barak Bakhar's Hapoel, who defeated Olympiacos in the third round of qualifying.

However, Rodgers believes the Champions League is a competition Celtic belong in.

"It's going to be a tough couple of games for us but we're really looking forward to the home-leg in particular. [Celtic Park] is a special arena for football, and nights like [Wednesday] are why supporters have that iconic name around the world," Rodgers told the club's website.

"Just pulling outside the ground today, I sensed the buzz. I believe we will get a taste of the Champions League music tomorrow. To take the club into the Champions League would be important at this moment.

"I will have plenty of time when I retire to reflect on everything I do in the game but this is certainly very important to us as a football club, having not been in it for a few years.

"This club is synonymous around the world with the European Cup. There is a reason why every team in the land wants to play Celtic in a testimonial game - because of the huge draw of the club and the support."