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Zenit St Petersburg 3-0 Celtic: Scottish Premiership champions out of Europa League

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Scott Brown shows his frustration
Scott Brown shows his frustration

Celtic exited the Europa League in calamitous style with a 3-0 defeat against Zenit St Petersburg in Russia.

The Hoops' deserved 1-0 lead from the first leg of the last-32 clash at Parkhead last week was wiped out before half an hour had been played with Brendan Rodgers' side culpable.

Returning defender Branislav Ivanovic, celebrating his 34th birthday, put Zenit in front with a header from a poorly defended corner in the eighth minute before Daler Kuzyaev fired in a long-range drive in the 27th minute which had Parkhead keeper Dorus de Vries grasping air.

Still, a goal was all Celtic needed to go through to the last 16 but in the 61st minute striker Aleksandr Kokorin, who had previously scored against the Hoops for Dinamo Moscow, made it 3-0 on the night and 3-1 on aggregate.

Celtic are odds-on at 1/250 with Sky Bet to go on and retain the Scottish Premiership title this season.

Branislav Ivanovic makes it 1-0 for Zenit at home to Celtic
Branislav Ivanovic makes it 1-0 for Zenit at home to Celtic

Post-match reaction

Brendan Rodgers claimed Celtic needed more courage against Zenit.

Manager Rodgers said: "Defensively we lacked aggression, particularly in the first half. We didn't close the space quick enough.

"We talk about defending forward and we just didn't defend forward well enough. We conceded poor goals from that.

"The corner is one that can happen, we were blocked off, they worked it well and found the space. Branislav is outstanding in the air.

"The second goal, we didn't engage quick enough from the throw-in. We're too deep and have to press the guy who was shooting.

"At 2-0 we still have an opportunity in the game. But everything was too sideways and backwards and that's about bravery and having that courage to play.

Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers

"With so many young players in the team, you see the contrast from last week.

"We started the second half OK but, again, we concede possession too cheaply and they work the ball round for a cross.

"We should never concede that type of goal, the third goal.

"We were much better than them in the first game. If we played with a little bit more courage and belief tonight, we could maybe have got a result."

Zenit boss Roberto Mancini claimed his side earned their place in Friday's draw.

The Italian said: "We deserved to win. We played a very good game. Celtic are a strong team but we played very, very well.

"Celtic's tempo in Glasgow was very difficult for us. Tonight we scored three goals, had other chances and for 75 minutes didn't concede any chances to Celtic."

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