Rodgers rues costly errors

Brendan Rodgers admitted his Celtic side must learn from their 2-0 home defeat to Valencia in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie.

The La Liga side took the lead just before half time through Denis Cheryshev and Ruben Sobrino doubled their lead early in the second period.

Los Che held on to their two-goal advantage with few alarms and can be backed at 13/2 to win next Thursday's second leg in Valencia 2-0 and at 16/1 to win the Europa League outright.

Meanwhile, Celtic are available at 9/20 to beat Kilmarnock at Rugby Park when they return to domestic league action on Sunday.

"They were very organised and compact," Rodgers said of Valencia.

"Unfortunately for us, we made too many mistakes, especially in the first half. When you do that against good teams it kills your momentum and puts you on the back foot.

"At this level you really have to concentrate. It ended up being a disappointing night for us.

"We have to try and learn from it. We have it take it on the chin and we go next week to Valencia. It will be a very difficult game for us but if we can get the first goal then it can bring a different possibility for us."

Celtic are 16/1 to qualify for the last 16.

Patience the key for Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers has told his Celtic players that patience is a virtue as they prepare to take on Valencia in the Europa League on Thursday.

The Bhoys are 5/2 to beat the Spanish side and qualify for the last 16 of the competition but Rodgers knows it won't be easy as Valencia have drawn 13 of their 23 La Liga matches this season and only conceded 20 goals.

Rodgers is hoping his players can produce a similar performance to the one they managed against RB Leipzig in the group stage of the Europa League before Christmas when they won 2-1.

"Patience is part of the game," said former Liverpool boss Rodgers.

"That's the understanding of the game. You're playing against good teams. Valencia have only lost four times all season in one of the biggest leagues in Europe.

"It's about respecting that the opponent is a good side. It's up to us to ensure we go and deliver a game and an intensity in our game that gives the supporters that hope.

"The Leipzig game was a wonderful demonstration of that, where we played really well in the game."

Kieran Tierney will miss the game, which Celtic are 14/1 to win 2-0, because of a hip injury.

Sinclair talks up Hoops confidence

Celtic forward Scott Sinclair claims his confidence is back after scoring a hat-trick against St Johnstone in the Scottish Cup on Sunday.

The 29-year-old put in a fine display and was rewarded with his three goals to help Celtic through to the next round.

Having scored his second hat-trick if the season, the first coming against Aberdeen, Sinclair says he is feeling good about his game and hopes he can maintain the standard for the remainder of the campaign.

He told Celtic TV: "Yes, I'm back confident. I'm scoring goals, obviously, and I feel like I am back on form.

"It is up to me to keep carrying on the form I'm in, to keep scoring goals and to keep playing as well as I can.

"It is always good to score goals and obviously to get another hat-trick is great but it was a great team performance.

"I think we played very well as a team and now it is about keeping going and winning."

Celtic are 1/7 to win the Premiership this season, while rivals Rangers are 5/1 to claim the Scottish crown.

View all Soccer betting

Rodgers eases title pressure

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers has played down the effect of his side facing being under pressure in their bid to win an eight consecutive Scottish league title.

The Bhoys are six points clear at the top of the table, having maintained their advantage thanks to a 2-0 win at home to Hibernian on Wednesday evening, which was their fifth successive SPFL victory.

And Rodgers is calm about the prospects for the coming weeks, with Rangers still hoping to overhaul their rivals to be crowned Scottish champions for the first time since 2011.

He told reporters: "I have always tried to get my team to play without pressure and you can see that now because they are playing well.

"People talk about pressure, but we didn't concede a goal, we played very well and, while there are items we can look at, we are just enjoying our football.

"We can only focus on ourselves. There is a perception created around a challenge for the title that it's tight, but all you can do is focus on our own performance and play good football.

"If we do that, then we know there is a good chance we'll win."

Celtic are 1/7 to win the SPFL title, with Rangers priced at 5/1, while the Bhoys are 11/10 to win the Scottish Cup for a third season in a row.

View all Soccer betting

Rodgers counts cost of victory

Celtic moved six points clear of Rangers with a 2-0 win over St Johnstone in the Scottish Premiership, though it may be three points at a cost.

The home side were organised throughout the McDiarmid Park clash and largely kept the champions at bay.

Brendan Rodgers summoned first Odsonne Edouard and then Timothy Weah – after the Frenchman had to come back off injured – from his bench to bolster his attacking options and it was the on-loan Paris St-Germain forward Weah that inspired the Bhoys.

Weah's 78th minute cross was turned home from close range by James Forrest for the vital opening goal and the American teenager then led a sharp breakaway, exchanging passes with Callum McGregor for the easiest of finishes on 89 minutes, to seal the win.

But it was three points at a cost for Celtic.

Record signing Edouard was stretchered off after he kicked the studs of Saints defender Ryan Shaughnessy in a goalmouth scramble only eight minutes into his cameo.

Celtic also lost Mikael Lustig to injury at half-time while goalscorer Forrest limped off with a hamstring problem near the end – leaving Celtic down to ten men with all their subs on. And they finished with nine as Kristoffer Ajer carelessly got himself sent off in stoppage time for a professional foul.

Rodgers – already without Kieran Tierney, Dedryck Boyata, Leigh Griffiths, Tom Rogic, Olivier Ntcham, Tony Ralston and Filip Benkovic for various reasons will have to re-adjust his pack for Wednesday's visit of Hibernian, while Celtic also have a Europa League tie with Valencia looming amid eight games in February.

"If you watch the replay again, the boy Shaughnessy's stretching and his foot is accidental as Odsonne's gone to hit it," Rodgers said of Edouard's injury.

"These modern boots are not so tough. It's just caught him right on the front of his foot so he's in a wee bit of pain but hopefully he will be okay.

"James is more of a worry, he felt his hamstring a bit tight. We had to play the last 10 minutes or so with 10 men.

"We'll make do. We have some outstanding players who can play in those positions. We will assess it on Monday and see where we're at."

Celtic are 13/5 to beat Valencia in Glasgow on 14th February in their last-32 first leg. The La Liga side are 21/20 while the draw is 12/5.

View all Soccer betting

Rogic set for knee operation

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has confirmed that Australia international Tom Rogic needs knee surgery and will be sidelined until mid-March.

The 26-year-old former Central Coast Mariners midfielder will be out of action for up to six weeks.

Rogic has been representing the Socceroos at the Asian Cup, which was surprisingly won by Qatar, with Graham Arnold's side being knocked out in the quarter-finals by United Arab Emirates.

"Tom is actually going to be out for six weeks which is a real blow for us," Rodgers said ahead of Sunday's trip to St Johnstone.

"He came back from the Asian Cup and had an issue with his hand out there and injured his knee when he landed awkwardly.

"He went down to London with a member of our medical team to check that his hand didn't need an operation and, while he was there, we thought we would have his knee looked at and it showed up a lateral meniscus problem, which is going to put him out for up to six weeks.

"It is not what we expected but that's the way football works. It is unfortunate. He won't need the operation on his hand but needs it on his knee."

Celtic are 1/8 to win the Scottish Premiership again this season and 3/10 to beat St Johnstone in Perth on Sunday.

Gerrard rules out Morelos move

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard has insisted that striker Alfredo Morelos will not be leaving the club during this transfer window.

The Ibrox boss says 'every player' in his squad has a price, and while he's not ruling that Morelos could be sold in the summer, the club's leading scorer won't be moving on in the coming days.

Ligue 1 outfit Nice, currently managed by Patrick Vieira, are reportedly weighing up an £8m approach for the Colombian forward.

Morelos joined Rangers in the summer of 2017 from Finnish outfit HJK Helsinki for a fee in the region of £1m. He has notched a dozen goals in 19 Scottish Premiership appearances this season, propelling Gerrard's side into a closely-fought title race with Celtic in doing so.

Rangers drew level on points with the champions when they defeated Brendan Rodgers' men at Ibrox before New Year, though the Bhoys have played a game less.

Gerrard's team return to competitive action on Wednesday evening when they go to Rugby Park to take on third placed Kilmarnock and their manager says nobody will be leaving during this window.

"There's been nothing concrete [from Nice]," said Gerrard.

"At the moment in this window, Alfredo won't be going anywhere. But every one of our players has got a price, I'm not naive enough to sit here and say they haven't.

"But none of my players will be going out the door, certainly in this window, so anyone who is preparing a bid or thinking of a bid will be wasting their time."

Rangers are 8/13 to win at Kilmarnock on Wednesday. Steve Clarke's side, one point behind their visitors, are 17/4 while the draw is 3/1.

View all Soccer betting

Hoops land Scotland starlet

Celtic have secured the services of Scotland international Oliver Burke on a loan deal from West Brom until the end of the season.

The 21-year-old, who burst on the scene in the Championship with Nottingham Forest, has since gone on to play in the Bundesliga with RB Leipzig, before joining the Baggies.

Burke is now looking to kick-start his career north of the border after agreeing a loan deal at Parkhead until the end of the season, subject to a medical.

The five-time Scotland capped winger is set to join up with the rest of Brendan Rodgers' squad this week for their winter training camp in Dubai.

Burke has made 21 appearances for the Baggies, scoring one goal, which came this season against Luton Town in the EFL Cup.

Celtic are still top of the Scottish Premiership table despite a 1-0 defeat to arch rivals Rangers in their last outing before a winter break.

The Hoops are 1/5 to win the Premiership title once again this season, while Rangers are 7/2 to claim the Scottish crown.

Celtic are currently 66/1 to go on and win the Europa League this season.

View all Football betting

Rogic left out after Celtic email

Australia head coach Graham Arnold has defended his decision to leave out Tom Rogic from the friendly against Oman.

The Celtic player missed the 5-0 win in Dubai due to his club's concerns over his fitness, Arnold explained.

Former Socceroos keeper Mark Bosnich, now a pundit for Fox Sports, criticised the coach for not using Rogic in the match, tweeting that it was "very poor" to have taken him away from the Old Firm derby against Rangers just to rest him.

But the coach said he'd had an email from Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers asking him not to use the midfielder against Oman due to a knee issue.

"He's got a small knee issue and it blew up on the plane, on the flight," added Arnold, who took over from Bert van Marwijk after last year's World Cup. "He's here because he wants to be here. The most important thing is the fitness and the health of the kid.

"Celtic asked us not to play him; we have emails to prove it."

Rogic, who has been carrying the knee injury all season, trained on the eve of the Oman game, but only lightly and away from the main group.

Arnold expects the 26-year-old to be fit for next weekend's Asian Cup opener against Jordan.

Skipper Mark Milligan was happy with the team's performance in their final warm-up match before the tournament and feels they will be able to take confidence into the Jordan clash.

"We wanted to use [it) to fine-tune a few things, and we wanted to get into the habit of scoring goals," said Milligan. "We've already gotten into the habit of scoring goals in training and we wanted to continue that; we ticked a number of boxes."

Australia are 3/10 to win their first game at the Asian Cup against Jordan, who are 9/1, with the draw 4/1.

View all Soccer betting

Gerrard urges Rangers response

Steven Gerrard says his Rangers team has got to stand up and be counted when champions Celtic visit them on Saturday.

The Light Blues trail their Glasgow rivals by three points after being pegged back by Hibernian with a late leveller in a 1-1 draw at the Govan venue on Boxing Day.

The Hoops meanwhile had overcome Aberdeen at Pittodrie, coming out best in seven-goal thriller after a hat-trick from Scott Sinclair.

With Celtic also having played a game less, Gerrard says Rangers must regroup and pour themselves into the Old Firm atmosphere this weekend. Both sides will be playing their ninth and final games of a hectic December.

There's a lot of ice going on bumps and bruises," Gerrard said.

"But I've said to the players we have two options: we feel sorry for ourselves, or we regroup. We have 90 minutes to flip how everyone's feeling right now.

"The players all need to come to see me individually in the next couple of days to tell me if they're in or out."

Celtic will remain top going into the winter break unless Rangers win by four goals or more. Brendan Rodgers has yet to lose to Rangers during his two-and-a-half-years as Celtic manager.

Gerrard's men are 13/5 to win and the former England skipper is urging them to feed off the fans.

"For the Celtic game, we'll do everything we can to make the starting XI as strong as possible," said Gerrard.

"We have to try to use [the home crowd] to our advantage. We owe it to them to find 90 minutes then we can go and rest."

Celtic are 1/1 for the win, with a draw priced at 5/2.

View all Soccer betting