Celtic hope to bring Europa League campaign to the final day

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is targeting victory over Rosenborg on Thursday to bring the Europa League qualification fight to the final group game
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is targeting victory over Rosenborg on Thursday to bring the Europa League qualification fight to the final group game

Uefa Europa League Group B: Rosenborg v Celtic (Thursday, 5.55pm, live on BT Sport 3)

CELTIC manager Brendan Rodgers has targeted victory against Rosenborg to set up a last-day Europa League showdown with Salzburg at Parkhead.

The Hoops are in third place in Group B with six points and face the bottom side in Trondheim on Thursday night.

RB Leipzig are also on six points but with a better head-to-head record than Celtic and they travel to section leaders Salzburg, who have maximum points after four games.

Rodgers is desperate for the win in Norway which will definitely leave his side with a chance of getting out of the group when the Austrian outfit visit Glasgow on December 13 for the final fixture.

"There's been lots of big games and this is the next big game for us," said the Carnlough man, who will consider bringing fit-again skipper Scott Brown and midfielder Tom Rogic back into the side.

"We want to go into our last game at Celtic Park with an opportunity to qualify and if we get a victory tomorrow night then we have an opportunity to do that.

"We understand and respect Rosenborg and that respect has grown and they've come off the back of a celebration of being champions again for the fourth consecutive time.

"So we know it can be a difficult game for us and that is what we will prepare for."

Rosenborg have the chance to complete the domestic double when they face Stromsgodset in the Norway Cup final on Sunday, when Celtic will be taking on Aberdeen in the Betfred Cup final at Hampden Park.

Rosenborg's interim boss Rini Coolen aims to be "smart" in the utilisation of his squad and admitted that, "some players will not play the full 90 minutes."

However, Rodgers is paying no attention to his Rosenborg counterpart's strategy.

Speaking at the Lerkendal stadium, he said: "It's not something I can worry too much about. It's not something I can control.

"The manager of Rosenborg and the club have earned the right to do what they want to do in this game, because they have the cup final at the weekend.

"It is totally different stages of the season, with different objectives.

"For us, whatever team we put out will be a strong team and a team we think can win the game and then we go into the first final of the season and it will be another very strong team that we think can win the game.

"What's going to be important for us is the collective, we hope throughout the remainder of the season, starting tomorrow, that it can get us the results that we want."

Brown has not played since limping off during the 4-2 win over Hibernian in October while Rogic had a knee problem but both trained at Celtic Park before the squad flew out to Trondheim on Wednesday afternoon.

Asked if they were in with a chance of featuring, Rodgers said: "It's something we look to consider. What's important with Scott is that he's back and available again.

"Tom was in great form, he went away with the international team, so he wasn't going to play against Hamilton (at the weekend) regardless and this was his first available game for us.

"He is a big player, as is Scott, the most important thing is both are available and ready to play if required."