Brendan Rodgers believes Celtic deserved to take all three points from the 1-1 draw against Borussia Monchengladbach in Germany which has extended their hopes of further progress in Europe this season.
The Scottish champions remain in contention for a last-16 place in the Champions League after Moussa Dembele’s 76th-minute penalty cancelled out Lars Stindl’s first-half opener for the Bundesliga side.
Borussia were reduced to 10 men for the closing stages with defender Julian Korb sent off for the foul on Dembele which led to the spot-kick and Celtic substitute Callum McGregor missed a gilt-edged chance to win the game for the Scottish champions with three minutes remaining.
“I thought we were the better team,” said Celtic manager Rodgers. “We should have scored again. Callum’s either got to score or he’s got to square it to finish.
“But I’m really proud of the players tonight because I said to them that in order for us to improve at this level, we needed to play with personality. And the personality we showed in the game was outstanding.
“We were very brave on the ball and opened up the pitch to play. We built the game, secured the game and created chances with real speed on the counter attack. We had chances to win.
“We hit the post and could have scored at the end. So it was an outstanding team performance and the beginning for us, really, at this level in terms of the personality we need to play with.
“What was important for us was to get some sort of result. But I said to the players beforehand that win lose or draw I wanted us to play the way we know we can.
“I wanted to show we can come away to a really tough place in Europe and perform. So for me they deserve a huge amount of credit.”
Celtic remain bottom of Group C with just two points from their first four games but could still reach the last 16.
They would need to win both of their remaining fixtures, at home to Barcelona on 23 November and then away to Manchester City on 6 December, while also requiring Borussia to fail to beat City in Germany and then lose away to Barcelona.
A more realistic target for Celtic is securing third place in the group which would provide the consolation prize of a place in the last 32 of the Europa League.
“It’s a result that keeps us in there fighting,” added Rodgers. “We always knew this was going to be a difficult group but that performance makes me very proud. It’s another step forward for this team, a result which gives them that belief that they can perform well.”
Rodgers praised Dembele who scored his 16th goal of the season for Celtic. The 20-year-old French striker failed from the spot when Celtic trailed 1-0 to Barcelona in the Nou Camp in their opening Group C match this season, which they eventually lost 7-0, but made no mistake last night.
“It was a big moment for Moussa,” said Rodgers. “He showed great composure to tuck it away against a top class keeper. His presence and quality really disturbed their back four in the game.”