Date: 14th February 2018 at 7:06am
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Brendan Rodgers is preaching to his defenders the need to fully concentrate against Zenit St Petersburg.

Three goals lost to Kilmarnock and Partick Thistle have posted ominous warning signs about the hoops defence with the central pairing changing on an almost game by game basis.

Getting it right at the back is essential if progress is to be made with the Champions League qualifier proving that 0-0 is far from disastrous.

When the Celtic team is announced at 7.30pm on Thursday all eyes will be on the defence as they prepare for 90 minutes firmly in the spotlight.

The manager has been reinforcing to them the concentration aspect,” told the Daily Record. “It’s really important at this level. When you are facing teams like Zenit it can be about that mental fatigue.

You need to concentrate, be switched on and alive, for every single moment of the game. That’s going to be very important on Thursday to ensure we are defensively solid.

Domestically we are used to having a lot of the ball, then you come in to Europe and you are not the team with most of the ball.

It’s something you look at in training and try to help the players. The manager has been reinforcing to the player the important of defensive organisation, concentrating on being hard to beat.

We know we have threats going the other way.”

None of the injured Celtic players will return for tonight’s match with only Tom Rogic in contention for next week’s return leg in Russia.

Patrick Roberts and Stuart Armstrong are still working in doors with the Scottish Cup tie against Morton at the beginning of March a realistic target for their top team return.