BRENDAN Rodgers last night urged his Celtic players to go out and stun the football world – by opening their Champions League campaign with a victory over a Paris Saint-Germain side he believes is capable of winning the tournament.

The French champions have assembled the most expensive strikeforce in football history this summer by signing Neymar for £198 million from Barcelona and Kylian Mbappe from Monaco in a £165m deal.

However, Rodgers is confident his side, who will field Leigh Griffiths up front after the centre forward recovered from the calf strain which ruled him out of Friday night’s win over Hamilton, is capable of getting a famous result.

Loading article content

“I think it should be a great spectacle,” he said. “In these types of games attitude is everything. You can’t look too closely at them, or think too emotionally. PSG are put together to win this competition, there’s no doubt about that.

“PSG have brought in Neymar and Mbappe who is an amazing young striker, so their focus is clearly on winning it. But it’s a game we’re really looking forward to.

“Maybe not many people were watching the Hamilton game on Friday night, but certainly the eyes of the world will be on this game.

“This is a game to go and enjoy. Make no bones about it, this is a superior team to us. That’s the reality of it with the quality of the players and where they’re at.

“But for us we take an attitude into the game. We’re very much a team and have the ability to play in this type of game. We have speed, strength and power so it’s a great chance for us to make a good start.

“It’s going to be a big challenge for us, but one we’re determined to embrace. They have to feel us breathing very close to them. That’s how we play domestically and it’s how we play in other games in this competition.

“You can’t do it for 90 minutes so you have to dip in and out of the pressure. But it’s our job to progress with real aggression.”

“Leigh is available. He trained on Sunday and Monday and he’s fine. With Leigh, it was just unfortunate he got the injury because he was on really good form. He’s a wonderful player and has developed over the last 12 months. At this level he’s been very, very good so it’s great to have him back.

Meanwhile, Rodgers has welcomed both Scott Brown, his captain, and Jozo Simunovic, his first choice centre half, signing new deals with Celtic which tie them to the Parkhead club until 2019 and 2021.

“I’m delighted for both players,” he said. “Scott has been a great captain here over many years. He’s consistently played at a very high level. We’ve been talking about a new contract and it was just about getting through the qualification. So I’m delighted.

“Jozo is a young player who had a focus on his injury from the past but this is a great arena for him to play. He’s in coaching environment where he needs that development. Once he’s fit and trains consistently he’s an outstanding talent.

“So it’s great news for our squad because we’re trying to build and create something here. ”

Rodgers is hopeful Celtic supporters will be sensible about what they can achieve in the Champions League given the size of their budget in comparison with their rivals.

“There has to be a sense of reality,” he said. “We talk about making a mark on the group -– with Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich and Anderlecht. We have to have a sense of reality on it as well. You cannot get carried away and try to pretend we are something we are not.”