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Modest setting for start to new Celtic era

Press AssociationPress Association 11/07/2016 Ronnie Esplin

Brendan Rodgers has spoken of his pride ahead of his first game as Celtic boss against Lincoln Red Imps at the Victoria Stadium.

After four unbeaten warm-up games in Austria and Slovenia the Hoops manager, who took over from Ronny Deila in May, gets his tenure under way for real against the part-timers from Gibraltar in the first leg of the Champions League second qualifying round on Tuesday night.

Asked how he was feeling ahead of the match Rodgers, who ruled Norwegian midfielder Stefan Johansen out for "probably two or three weeks" with an ankle injury, said: "Very proud.

"I am really looking forward to it, I can't wait for the game to get under way and get working and see the relationship between the game and the training we have been doing.

"We have a long way to go before we are ideally where I want us to be at, certainly all the signs so far makes me think I am really looking forward to this season.

"It is going to be an exciting year for sure and it is nice to get off to this start and hopefully we get a good performance and result."

Asked how he would approach this game against the semi-professionals from the Rock, as opposed to a team like Chelsea, the former Liverpool boss said: "There is no change.

"Celtic is always the big attraction, the big draw, the big club, we are very proud to take Celtic around the world for our supporters and players.

"Every game is a big game. There is no game that is any bigger or smaller.

"Of course you have different level of opponent but for myself and the staff that doesn't change in terms of our preparation and at Celtic there is a huge expectation on us to do well.

"So for us it doesn't change."

The Imps' tiny stadium holds only 2000 fans, around half of whom will be supporting the Scottish champions, and although Rodgers admits playing on an artificial surface is "never ideal" he is confident his side will cope.

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