IT wasn’t quite “no one likes us, we don’t care”, but Brendan Rodgers does believe his Celtic side weren’t given the plaudits they deserved for their away win over Anderlecht in Brussels on Wednesday night.

And he doesn’t stop there. For every bit of praise that does come the way of his club, Rodgers feels there is always a qualifier attached regarding the level of the opposition. Celtic, and their manager, are well used to the sneering arrogance around their domestic achievements from south of the Border, but he believes the same attitude exists within Scotland when it comes to

celebrating their successes either at home or on the continent.

“I’ve had that quite a bit up here,” Rodgers said. “But myself and the players just get on with it. When we play Rangers, it’s about how Rangers aren’t what they used to be. Anderlecht aren’t what they used to be. The Scottish league isn’t what it used to be. It’s constant, it’s nothing new. We just deal with it. We can only focus on ourselves and just continually look to develop our game and improve.

“It’s the modern world unfort-unately. We don’t look for the credit, we just want to do a good job for the supporters that travel and pay a lot of money to get out there. And for ourselves too, because we’re ambitious and we want to do well. The other stuff, we can’t really control.”

There should be no doubting the scale of Celtic’s achievement last week. Winning away from home in the Champ-

ions League is far from easy as the

five-year gap between successes on foreign soil for the Glasgow giants suggests. And particularly in the emphatic style with which Celtic swatted Anderlecht aside.

So, would it be fair to say the Celtic manager believes his side deserve far more credit?

“Absolutely,” he said. “It’s also worth remembering as well that this is a team [Anderlecht] who have virtually double our budget. Even though it’s Anderlecht and it’s the Belgian champions, they have double our budget, so to go and deliver that level of performance and with that confidence is great.

“But we can’t control it. The only news headline we can write is to win the game. I saw a lot of the stories and lots of the columns on the game, and even internally in Scotland, a lot of them were very much about how poor Anderlecht were.

“It comes from close to home as well, but we can’t worry about it. We just do our jobs and the players did theirs very well.”

Rodgers made the point after the game that his team are at last coming to terms with their own embarrassment when they keep the ball for long spells, and don’t now feel pressured into taking a shot from distance or forcing a final ball that isn’t on just because they have been passing it around for a while.

But what pleases him most is that his players understand why they are keeping the ball, moving the opposition around effectively before sensing when the time is right to go in for the kill, the opening goal against Anderlecht being the perfect example.

“Everyone talks about possession but it is no good on its own,” he said. “You need to penetrate, defend well and create opportunities. When I watched a re-run of the game it was great to see the calmness and the confidence we had to play a high-level technical game. It shows the way we have been developing.

“The incision at the end was good. It was a wonderful pass from Olly [Ntcham] but it doesn’t get there if Kieran [Tierney] isn’t running.

“It is important to get through teams without the ball and Kieran has the explosive speed to get there.

“The second and third goals also pleased me. The fitness at the end to have five players in the box in injury time, with the hunger to score.”

One man who was on the outside looking in at Celtic’s Champions League exploits midweek was striker Moussa Dembele, who had been very much front and central of their European adventures last season.

The 21-year-old made his name for the club as he burst on to the continental stage this time last year, scoring twice against Manchester City and once against Borussia Moenchengladbach to establish himself as the club’s No 1 striker.

Leigh Griffiths, who had netted on 40 occasions the season prior, was forced to watch on helplessly from the bench for the most part having been usurped by the gifted young Frenchman, but now the tables have turned.

Dembele, lacking match sharpness as he continues to work his way back following injury, was never likely to be risked ahead of Scotland star Griffiths given what was at stake in Brussels on Wednesday evening.

But with former Hibernian man Griffiths in such lethal form, the question is when Dembele will be given the nod to spearhead the Celtic attack again. That he is currently down the pecking order is of course in part due to injury, but due credit must also be given to Celtic’s number nine. And he is showing no signs of letting up.

“It’s difficult at the moment for [Moussa] because what he needs is games, but Anderlecht away in the Champions League isn’t a fitness test,” said Rodgers. “You have to play well.

“At the minute, Leigh Griffiths has been brilliant. OK, if we decide to play with two which we sometimes do, then fine, but it has to fit the needs of the game. The beauty of the team this year as we are evolving is that we can play different systems, but each system has a purpose as to why you would use it. It’s not a case of playing with those two because they are fit, the game might not need that.

“But, what’s good for Moussa is that we have lots of games, and there are going to be lots of opportunities for him to play and to build his fitness. Every day he is fighting and working to be the best he can be. It’s a long season.

“We’ve got young Odsonne [Edouard] behind them as well – and what a talent he is – so between the three of them we’ve got real competition there now. But at the minute, Leigh has been superb.”