Brendan Rodgers will have Celtic ready for Europe, says John Kennedy

By John BarnesBBC Scotland
John Kennedy (central) with Brendan Rodgers and Chris Davies (left)
Kennedy (central) oversees the first day of training with Rodgers and Davies (left)

John Kennedy says the influence of new manager Brendan Rodgers will ensure Celtic are well prepared for their Champions League qualifying campaign.

Celtic begin their quest for the group stages against either Flora Tallin of Estonia or the semi-professional Gibraltar side Lincoln Red Imps.

And Kennedy insists Celtic will be ready for the first leg on 12/13 July.

"With Brendan coming in it will certainly take our preparation up a notch," said the first team coach.

"At this stage we'll go in as favourites but as we always do we'll make sure we're up to speed, we're fit, we're strong and the team's fully prepared going into the game.

"Obviously with it being the Champions League we can take no chances and Brendan is very detailed in the way he looks at things.

"It's early doors and he'll get his message across tactically in terms of how he wants his team to play, but he has always spoken about wanting to attack.

"That's in his make-up and he wants to have an attacking team with real intensity.

"He wants to dominate every game in Scotland if we can and try to take that into Europe. He wants us to have no fear in the way we play and to turn Celtic Park into a real fortress.

"He wants to make sure teams know when they come to Celtic Park that they'll be up against it and it's important we do that.

"That happens on the training pitch and getting the message across. He's got some great ideas in terms of how he sees the game so it's important we all buy into that and the players do the same. Hopefully you'll see the rewards on the pitch."

Kristoffer Ajer (left) and Erik Sviatchenko at training
New arrival Kristoffer Ajer (left) with Erik Sviatchenko at training

'Great opportunity' for Kennedy

Kennedy is the only one of the first team coaching staff to remain at the club following the departure of manager Ronny Deila and his assistant John Collins.

And he is relishing the chance to be part of the new regime under former Liverpool boss Rodgers.

"It's the same position again," he explained. "Obviously, Chris Davies has come in as assistant manager and I've stayed on as first team coach.

"When Ronny and John left I was still here and I got a call from Brendan to have a chat and basically he said he wanted to keep me on and be part of his new set-up and stay on in my role as first team coach.

"It was a great opportunity. For myself to walk away from an opportunity to work with a manager of his calibre would be silly for me at this point in my career.

"It's a great opportunity for me and everybody's excited about things going forward."

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