Celtic have great chance to progress, says Brendan Rodgers after win over Zenit

Brendan Rodgers believes Celtic have given themselves “a great opportunity” to progress in the Europa League after beating Zenit St Petersburg 1-0.

Callum McGregor gave Celtic victory in the first leg of the last-32 tie, with the second leg in Russia next week.

“They probably need to come out a little bit now to chase the game,” said Rodgers.

“And of course that can give us more space and opportunities to play and score.”

Rodgers described McGregor’s strike, after being set up by Charly Musonda’s lofted pass, as “sensational”.

“Very good victory for us,” said the Northern Irishman. “I thought the performance was outstanding. We’re playing against a top side, everyone recognises that. For large parts of the game, we controlled it.

“With the ball, I was really pleased with our personality in the game – control and calmness. We played with great maturity tonight.

Celtic have great chance to progress, says Brendan Rodgers after win over Zenit

“Capped it off at the end with a fantastic goal. It was a great piece of skill by young Charly and then an absolutely brilliant finish by Callum.

“It was brilliant and it was no more than we deserved.”

Leaders Celtic host St Johnstone in the Scottish Premiership on Sunday and their second leg against Zenit will be next Thursday at 18:00 GMT.

“It was about giving ourselves an advantage if we could tonight,” added Rodgers. “Like all of these games, if you can keep a clean sheet then that’s important.

“We have to be happy with the victory.

“Like tonight, it’s going to be a tough game [in Russia] but we’ve given ourselves a great opportunity.”

Celtic have great chance to progress, says Brendan Rodgers after win over Zenit

Kieran Tierney also praised team-mate McGregor, saying: “It was class, his right foot as well, I thought that was for standing on, but that’s another European goal, another big goal.

“He’s not been starting the last few games and comes in tonight and performs like that so it’s brilliant. Great player.”

Zenit boss Roberto Mancini believes his side can turn the tie around.

“We need to improve for the second game, but the result is not a big problem, 1-0 is a score we can change,” said the Italian.

Celtic have great chance to progress, says Brendan Rodgers after win over Zenit

“We lost this game 1-0 but with another 90 minutes we can change the result. We can play better, we can be more offensive with our striker. We need to improve up front.

“We knew before the game that it would be difficult, after two months [out with Zenit’s winter break]. Celtic have played every week, but if we had attention we wouldn’t have conceded that goal. But this is football. Celtic are a good team, the atmosphere here is incredible.”