Brendan Rodgers says Celtic must exploit Salzburg frailty at back

Leigh Griffiths leads training at Celtic Park on Wednesday ahead of the Europa League tie in Austria against Salzburg. Picture: SNS
Leigh Griffiths leads training at Celtic Park on Wednesday ahead of the Europa League tie in Austria against Salzburg. Picture: SNS
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Brendan Rodgers wants Celtic to exploit any Salzburg weaknesses in tonight’s Europa League clash. The Austrian champions, who reached the semi-final of the tournament last season before losing to Marseille, are unbeaten in this campaign and sit top of their domestic league with nine straight wins.

Both sides won their opening Group B 
fixtures, Celtic beating Rosenborg 1-0 at Parkhead while Salzburg beat RB Leipzig 3-2 in Germany, although the Northern Irishman noted that they surrendered a two-goal lead before scoring a late winner.

“They had a very good result in their last game, away in Leipzig,” said Rodgers, pictured. “They score goals but we also know they concede goals as well, so there’s going to be opportunities in the game and we need to be 
clinical.

“When you watch the game against Leipzig, there were a couple of mistakes where they go 2-0 up, but then it all changes very quickly in the second half. You always have to find a team’s weak points and how you can exploit those.

“But we respect every opponent. They have real quality in their team and the players have confidence.

“They win a lot of games and score goals, so we know defensively that we’ll have to be really organised and also really aggressive in the right moments.

“We know we can score goals also. We have good speed in the team, good players and we can also keep the ball well.

“It’ll be a difficult game for us but it’s what we expect in a European game. We know we have to defend well, be concentrated, match the intensity and 
work-rate. When we have possession we need to be dangerous. We’re looking forward to that challenge. Both teams have started off with victories, so we come here and hope to do well.”

Meanwhile, Salzburg manager Marco Rose is expecting Celtic to be more than a “typical Scottish” side tonight.

Speaking at the media conference at the Red Bull Arena yesterday, Rose revealed his respect for the Scottish champions.

He said: “I think it is going to be a nice game, both teams are really good and are capable of strong performances. We shouldn’t believe, like it was back in the day, that Celtic have a typical Scottish way of playing football.

“They have a clear way to play the game, really strong. They play solid football and, when they have the ball, they know what to do 
with it. They have really good players in their team, but we are looking at ourselves. We want to win the game, of course.”

Although the Austrian champions reached the last four of the Europa League last 
season Rose refused to look too far ahead. He said: “The semi-final will take place in April next year. Now it is October, so there is a lot of time left. We shouldn’t look too far ahead. But we want to get far in the Europa League.”

l Aberdeen have revealed their “total shock” at the decision to offer Scott McKenna a two-game ban for his tackle on Celtic forward Odsonne Edouard.

The Pittodrie club say they will appeal the decision “in the strongest possible terms”.

McKenna has been charged with serious foul play for his lunge which forced Edouard to hobble off during Saturday’s match which Celtic won 1-0.

Referee Bobby Madden saw the incident at the time but took no action against the Aberdeen player.