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Dublin: 11°C Tuesday 18 May 2021

Rodgers responds to Keane: We celebrated like you did when you qualified for Euro 2016

The Celtic boss was criticised by Ireland’s assistant manager for their exuberant hugging after progressing to the Champions League group stages.

Ireland's management team can't contain their delight after coming through the Euro 2016 play-off with Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Ireland's management team can't contain their delight after coming through the Euro 2016 play-off with Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

CELTIC MANAGER BRENDAN Rodgers has responded to criticism from Roy Keane for their celebrations after qualifying for the Champions League proper.

The Hoops, who came through the qualifiers with victories over Lincoln Red Imps, Astana and Hapoel Beer-Sheva, were handed a 7-0 defeat by Barcelona in the Group C opener in midweek.

After the result, ITV pundit Keane questioned the mentality of the players and the management staff.

“I’m scratching my head sometimes with managers,” Keane said on Wednesday night. “I know it’s difficult after a game and if you have an off-night in Barcelona you’re in big trouble.

“But on one hand we’re being told that Celtic are a great club, great traditions, great history… then they go and lose 7-0 to Barcelona and people almost say these things happen, it’s acceptable.

“Even in the qualifying games they were poor. They scraped through. They didn’t win any of their away games, I think.

“I think the whole mindset has to change and, particularly away from home, don’t accept being the whipping boys of Europe. It’s Celtic. Huge club, and they need to do a lot better.

Even when they qualified for this group, the celebrations to me were way over the top. They scraped through. I thought they actually won the competition.

“People were hugging each other — the manager, the coaching staff, the players. They should be expecting to do well in this group.”

Mideast Israel Champions League Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers. Source: Ariel Schalit

However, Rodgers has hit back by comparing their reaction to the scenes witnessed at the Aviva Stadium last November when Ireland saw off Bosnia-Herzegovina to book their place at Euro 2016.

“I have seen some bits of Roy.” the Antrim native told the Daily Record.  ”Listen, I respect his opinion. He has been a manager and he understands and he is an assistant now.

“He has seen what it means in order to achieve something. When they qualified for the Euros I think that was an achievement.

I don’t think there were too many of their staff who stood not smiling, or hugging, or cuddling.

“Where we are at, we went through six real tough qualification games. You can’t understand it until you actually come through it and actually experience the emotion and what it means to people.”

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Ben Blake

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