Celtic: Brendan Rodgers says new pitch will take champions' game to "different level"

Moussa Dembele scores Celtic's second goal
Moussa Dembele's chipped effort added to Odsonne Edoaurd's stylish opener before Callum McGregor's composed finish for Celtic's third

Brendan Rodgers believes the new pitch at Celtic Park will bring a "different level" to the champions' game.

Celtic maintained the momentum of last week's Champions League qualifying win at Alashkert with a 4-1 friendly victory over Standard Liege.

Goals from Odsonne Edouard, Moussa Dembele and Callum McGregor put the hosts 3-0 up before Rodgers changed the entire team for the second half.

Mikey Johnston added a fourth before the visitors scored a late consolation.

Rodgers says the club have spent £1.5m on a new playing surface over the summer and he believes it will reap swift dividends.

"I've been crying about a pitch for a long time and you see the speed of it and it'll get slightly quicker as well," said the Celtic manager.

"Our identity and purpose is always to be fast, dynamic and very aggressive, and of course when you have a really good pitch and a fast pitch, then that supports that way of playing.

"It was a big investment by the club, but they'll get their rewards, the players get their rewards and most importantly the spectators get their rewards.

"It does help, because we want to play a fast game. You've seen it today with the benefit of a good playing surface. It brings a different level to our game."

Celtic's Mikey Johnston (right) celebrates his goal with team-mates Ewan Henderson (left) and Ryan Christie.
Mikey Johnston (right) celebrates socring Celtiv's fourth goal with Ryan Christie (centre) and Ewan Henderson (left)

Celtic will take a 3-0 lead against Armenian champions Alashkert into Wednesday's second leg at home, in the first of what could be four qualifying rounds if they are to reach the Champions League group stage.

Rodgers believes Saturday was perfect preparation as his players continue to build up their match fitness, with Scott Sinclair, Marvin Compper, Eboue Kouassi, Scott Allan and Ryan Christie featuring in the second half alongside a number of home-grown youngsters.

"I was very pleased, we were playing against a good side," he added.

"I thought the fluency and crispness of our game was outstanding. The first half we caused lots of problems for them and obviously the quality of our goals was exceptional.

"Then in the second half we put out the younger team with a bit of experience around them, and again they were outstanding."

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