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Celtic almost down and out, admits Rodgers

Glasgow (AFP) – Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers admits it will be very difficult for his side to progress further in Europe following their disappointing 2-0 home Champions League defeat by Borussia Monchengladbach.

The Germans arrived in Glasgow with a horrendous injury list and struggling for form following defeats by Manchester City and Barcelona in their opening Group C fixtures.

However, the Bundesliga side dominated the match and second-half goals from captain Lars Stindl and Andre Hahn helped them inflict only Celtic’s fourth home defeat in 26 Champions League games.

The result leaves the Hoops bottom of Group C with just one point from three games ahead of their return match with the Germans next month.

“It is very difficult for us now,” Rodgers said.

“The game in Germany was always earmarked as a game that was going to be tough for us away from home and the home games were going to be important for us. 

“It wasn’t to be tonight and we just didn’t cope with them. Our next game is over there which I expect will be very tough again and we will try to do the very best that we can.”

Better had been expected from the Hoops after an intense performance on match day two against Manchester City had helped them claim a 3-3 draw with the English Premier League giants.

However, the Monchengladbach players seemed to have the measure of them from the start as they controlled proceedings.

Former Liverpool boss Rodgers admitted his side were still a work in progress after helping them to the Champions League group stages for the first time in three years.

“The best team won -– I don’t think there is any argument about that,” Rodgers, whose side face rivals Rangers in the League Cup semi-final on Sunday, said.

“My players will learn a lot from that defeat. No matter how good we play there are still elements we need to be able to compete consistently at this level.

“I said from day one that we are in the process of building something here.

“It was absolutely brilliant to qualify and we gave absolutely everything out there but sometimes teams are better than us and tonight — no disrespect to my players — that was the case.

“They had a World Cup winner out there in midfield and a lot of other very good players so we have to be honest and hold our hands up and say we were beaten by the better team.”

Monchengladbach had taken the lead in bizarre circumstances. Kolo Toure was caught trying to usher the ball out inside the six-yard box but Hahn’s perseverance allowed him to dig the ball back into ball for the advancing Stindl who lashed the ball through the legs of Craig Gordon.

Another costly mistake from Toure allowed the visitors to increase their advantage. 

The experienced defender was caught dithering on the ball by Hahn who robbed him of possession near the halfway line and raced away to blast a strike into the top right-hand corner of Gordon’s net.

“The only disappointment was the manner of the two goals,” Rodgers said.

“The frustration is that if we don’t concede the goals we find ourselves at 0-0 and give ourselves a chance to win the game.

“If you make a mistake it is punished heavily at this level. Top players will hurt you and that’s what happened.

 “They didn’t create so much here. Although they did look dangerous at times on the counter-attack like most German sides do, we gifted them two goals.

“We had some good spells in the game as well but we just were beaten by a side that is technically very good, strong, fast and has good power in their team.”

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