BRENDAN Rodgers last night hailed a thrilling Celtic win over RB Leipzig that keeps alive their hopes of a Europa League last 32 place as the best of his Parkhead reign.
The Scottish champions drew level on points with their German rivals in Group B after goals from Kieran Tierney and Odsonne Edouard clinched a 2-1 win.
The double treble winners responded immediately to conceding an equaliser to Jean-Kevin Augustin late on – by taking the lead again within a minute.
Rodgers praised the home fans in the sell-out crowd for their backing against class opponents who reached the quarter-finals of the competition in the 2017/18 campaign.
Asked if the triumph was the best European triumph of his two-and-a-half years in Glasgow, he said: “I couldn’t argue with that.
“If you look at the level of our opponent and you look at our performance. We showed no fear against a very good side and brought our identity to the team.
“It is nice they can do it not just domestically, but against one of the best teams in Europe. It was a fantastic victory and one that I am very proud.
“We performed really well at times over a couple of seasons. Sometimes we have had good results. But tonight was a proper win for us. For us to produce that level of performance and get a victory.”
Rodgers added: “The supporters were absolutely magnifcent. It is always very emotional here at Celtic Park. That synergy between both got us the three points in the end.
“A big thank you to the supporters. They really helped the team. The players were absolutely brilliant and they so deserved to win the game.
“Some of our football was fantastic and they kept fighting to the very end. When you press as a team, you can have no ego in the team.
“We spoke about it (the possibility of losing a goal) before the game and said that you have to respond when things go negatively in the game.
“That’s the mark of a good player. When things go against you, you know you have the fight and the spirit.
“It is a proper win against a top team who are fourth in the Bundesliga. In terms of a European victory, this is a great three points.”
Rodgers was unconcerned about the fact that Leipzig, who won 2-0 in Germany last month, have a better head-to-head record even though that could prove costly for Celtic when the group is finished.
“The most important thing was to win and win well and we did that,” he said. “There are still a couple of games to go. We will do our best.
Ralf Rangnick, the Leipzig head coach, admitted his team have to win their final two games, against Salzburg away and Rosenborg at home, to ensure their place in the Europa League knockout rounds.
“The first 15 minutes we were very good, especially playing against the ball,” said Rangnick. “But when we had the ball ourselves we weren’t dangerous enough, especially in the final third.
“After we conceded the goal we didn’t play very well. The second-half was a lot better We were dangerous. But you can’t concede immediately after you equalise.
“With a draw, one more win would have been enough most likely. Now we need a win in Salzburg and against Rosenborg. We’re not happy with the loss.
It is always better to win of course. I am especially frustrated with the second goal we conceded – too many mistakes in defence, too many players weren’t focused.”