Celtic got a 1-1 draw on the road against FC Astana in Kazakhstan in the first leg of the Champions League third round qualifiers. Leigh Griffiths scored for the Scottish champions in the second half to give them an important away goal.
The Kazakhs took the lead in the 19th minute through defender Yuriy Logvinenko, but the away goal from Griffiths puts the Scots in a good position for the return leg next week. Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers was thoroughly pleased with the performance.
“It was an outstanding result for us. Collectively the mentality was the most pleasing thing,” Rodgers told Sky Sports. “I think we were all written off before the game, everyone pretty clear in their opinion of the game, that we would do well to come back with anything other than a loss, but the players deserve an immense amount of credit, to fight and show spirit and passion in the game.
“The resilience and strength that we have built up over the course of the pre-season came into effect.
“I was disappointed with the goal, it is nothing new, but we showed a wonderful mentality to keep fighting and in the second half we restricted them to not so many clear chances and ended up scoring a fantastic goal.
“It is only half-time but [it is] a very important result for us.”
Celtic missed out on the Champions League last season after falling 4-3 on aggregate against Swedish side Malmo FF in the qualification playoffs.