Ten years without winning a Champions League match at home, they are six away, it is a heavy burden to carry, and Celtic want to get rid of as soon as possible. The Scottish side will face Lazio at Celtic Park tomorrow night and are battling the specters of a home win in Europe that has elusive since 2013. "Against Lazio we will play without fear, but we will need to give our 100% from the kick-off, because at these levels if you give 98 then you fail." Word of Brendan Rodgers, Hoops coach in the press conference on the eve of the challenge.
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"A decade without home wins in the Champions League is a long time," Rodgers admits, "but if my team plays with heart and courage, I have hope that this statistic can finally be put aside and get our first points in this tournament." The Scottish coach also dedicates a thought to Michael Beale, a coach just sacked by Rangers ("I wish him the best, I'm sad when a colleague of mine loses his job. He is an excellent coach, driving Celtic or Rangers is a great pressure"), and another to Tom Rogic, Australian playmaker and recently retired green and white legend: "It's sad to know that he will hang up his boots at just thirty, but he was a great of this club, and I understand it: family comes first". Rodgers then reveals that defender Cameron Carter-Wickers "will be able to return early" from injury, and concludes by stressing that against Lazio we will have to give everything in terms of spirit", already knowing that the team will do it.
"I see a great mental strength in the guys who are growing from time to time," concludes the former Liverpool manager. The stadium will be fully booked for what for the green and white public is one of the most anticipated seasonal challenges: "It's always special to play games like this; We feel all the support that comes to us from the stands, and that's what we have to use."
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