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Brendan Rodgers blasts Celtic cynics who 'dismissed' Champions League pedigree with bullish Feyenoord response

Brendan Rodgers admits his young Celts suffered a painful lesson in De Kuip – but they also proved they can cut it in the Champions League.

The Parkhead side went down 2-0 to Feyenoord in their Group E opener – with the Hoops going down to NINE men. Celtic matched the Dutch champs for 45 minutes before conceding in first half stoppage time from a cheap Calvin Stengs free kick. And any chance of a fightback went up in smoke as Gustaf Lagerbielke and sub Odin Thiago Holm were sent off within five second half minutes. Joe Hart saved the spot kick conceded by Lagerbielke but the host sealed the win with a second from Alireza Jahanbakhsh.

Rodgers was gutted the roof caved in but is bullish about his side’s chances in the section. He said: “You are always disappointed when you lose. But there is a manner to lose. I think the pride the supporters watching will take from that is the team was competitive. We have been dismissed as a team that is not at this level.

“But we showed against a good team we can be competitive for sure. We’ll have players coming back through the course of the tournament and hopefully that will stand us in good stead.

“There was moments tonight when we had confidence to play in a great stadium with a good atmosphere. It took real courage to do that. Overall I am frustrated for the players because they gave so much and worked so hard. The big point for me was that their spirit was never broken.”

Rodgers admitted the rug was pulled out form under Celtic by the second half slip ups. He said: “With Gustaf there was no drama, the ball was running through to the goalkeeper. I think it is inexperience by the two guys. He’s got to let the ball run through, you don’t have to be in the fight or use your arm. I