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Celtic display ‘a marker of progress’

Celtic defender Kolo Toure celebrates after their 3-3 draw with Manchester City

Defender Kolo Toure shows Celtic’s delight at full-time after holding City to a draw

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers believes their Champions League draw with Manchester City underlines how much they have improved since his arrival.

Rodgers’ men led three times in the 3-3 draw in Glasgow, but ultimately had to settle for a first point in Group C.

They opened the group with a 7-0 defeat in Barcelona but ended City’s 100% run under new boss Pep Guardiola.

“Tonight is hopefully a good marker of how much the players have improved in a short space of time,” said Rodgers.

“But I know there is a long way to go in terms of where we want to be.

“This was a great performance from the team, and will give them huge confidence. It is another vindication of how we’ve been working.

“We felt we could have won but we’re happy with a point. Collectively, we were outstanding.

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A noise I’ve never heard before – Rodgers

“There’s no doubt that was a big performance. I’m sure Pep [Guardiola] will recognise that it was really difficult night for them.

“They are top-class team with a top-class manager, who has coached them really well.

“But how our players pressed the game and forced Man City into mistakes. That was a great credit to my team.”

While Rodgers acknowledged Celtic might have defended better for the second and third City goals, he preferred to highlight the many positives from the overall display.

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Moussa Dembele celebrates his second goal, and Celtic’s third, with Kieran Tierney

Moussa Dembele took his tally to seven goals in his last six games and 12 for the season with a deft flick with his chest to open the scoring before putting the hosts 3-2 ahead with an acrobatic finish with his back to goal.

“We’re very fortunate to have him,” Rodgers said. “He’s been like that since he’s come in [this summer]. He really bullied the Man City back four but he’s more than that.

“He’s got a wonderful touch. You saw his agility for the third goal. He’s got power, he’s got pace and now he’s a huge talent. He was outstanding tonight.

“The pressure that we put Manchester City under, the quality of our play, the goals we scored – it was a real good level of performance.”

Celtic’s other goal came via a Raheem Sterling deflection of Kieran Tierney’s cross, with the England winger also scoring at the other end along with Fernandinho and Nolito in a seesaw encounter.

“The support was absolutely amazing,” Rodgers added.

“The combination of our performance and the atmosphere made it a very difficult night for them and a good step forward for us. It’s a noise I’ve never heard before since I’ve come up here.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37502698