PA Sport

Hendry switches focus to Champions League progress after Premiership loss

Hendry switches focus to Champions League progress after Premiership loss
By PA Sport

12/08/2018 at 08:52Updated 12/08/2018 at 15:26

Celtic were beaten 1-0 by Hearts at Tynecastle on Saturday.

Celtic defender Jack Hendry shrugged off the disappointment of Saturday’s 1-0 Ladbrokes Premiership defeat by Hearts to gear up for Champions League progress.

Kyle Lafferty’s second-half volley in a fierce battle at Tynecastle proved enough to keep the points in Gorgie.

The result was far from the boost boss Brendan Rodgers was looking for ahead of the second leg of their third qualifier against AEK Athens on Tuesday night, following the 1-1 draw at Parkhead last Wednesday.

However, following a “bitterly disappointing” result Hendry remained upbeat head of the trip to Greece.

“Yes the full focus is on that now,” the 23-year-old told Celtic TV.

“We have to go over there and do a job and the lads believe we are more than capable of doing that so full focus on that and making sure we get through to the next round.

“I thought we were the better team by far during the week so if we can implement that over there, I am sure that we will go there and do the job, but it obviously going there and doing it.”

Keeper Craig Gordon knows Celtic have handed the initiative to AEK but remains confident of  progressing through to the play-off.

He said: “It’s a massive opportunity for us to go and put in a good performance and try to get into the next round.

“We are slightly behind in the tie, so we have to go there and be very positive, and we definitely have the players who are capable and a team that is capable of going there and winning the game.

“That’s what we need to concentrate on now. All the focus is on trying to get through the next round.”

Gordon is sanguine about another hectic start to the season for the Scottish champions, who will have to have battled through four qualifiers if they are to reach the group stages of the Champions League for the third successive season.

The former Hearts and Sunderland number one said: “It’s not changed from any other season.

“This is what we have to go through at this stage of the season, and we still have to win games.

“Even if we don’t win, we had the chance to get out of Tynecastle with a 0-0, take a point and move on, but we didn’t manage to do that.

“It was a fairly close game. There wasn’t a great deal of big chances. It was a scrap from start to finish and one strike ends up in the bottom corner and they get the win.

“I don’t think there was a great deal in the game. We would have looked to carry a bigger threat, but we ended up giving away a bad goal and lost the game.”