CELTIC manager Brendan Rodgers has praised his team for having the mental strength to fight back from 1-0 down and earn a draw against Astana in the Champions League third qualifying round.

The Hoops fell behind to the team from Kazakhstan after some poor defending from a corner, but Leigh Griffiths' second-half equaliser ensured they head back to Glasgow with a vital away goal.

Despite his delight at the result, the Northern Irishman underlined that he understands that the job is still only half done.

He said: “It was an outstanding result for us. The resilience and strength, mentally, we’ve built-up over the course of pre-season came into effect on an evening like that.HeraldScotland: Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers at Glasgow Airport before the flight to Kazakhstan.

“We were disappointed with the goal, that’s nothing new, but after that we showed wonderful mentality to keep fighting. In the second-half we restricted them to not so many clear chances and we end up scoring a fantastic goal. It’s only half-time but it’s a very important result for us.

“A huge amount of credit goes to the players. We were written off before the game. The opinion was we’d do well to come back with anything other than a loss but the players deserve an immense amount of credit to fight and show that spirit and passion in the game.

“We gained a bit more control of the game and scored a wonderful goal by Leigh so we know the significance of the goal but we are not getting too carried away as we have another game against a very good side.”

The Bhoys were hit by a defensive crisis before the match and Rodgers reserved special praise for inexperienced stand-in Eoghan O'Donnell, who came into the side after Kolo Toure, Jozo Simunovic, Erik Sviatchenko, Kristoffer Ajer and Dedryck Boyata were all unavailable.

“I thought he was outstanding for a young player being on the fringes of the team for a few years and coming into that environment under that pressure, he made very few mistakes in the game," said the manager.HeraldScotland: 23/07/16   
  Celtic's Eoghan O'Connell scores the equaliser

“You expect him to make some as a young player but in a real difficult situation he coped and I was very proud of him.

“We had two 19-year-olds in Patrick Roberts on the right and young Kieran Tierney, who it’s only natural for at this time of the season to get a bit of cramp in his calf but he kept fighting.

“Young Eoghan is just 20, other boys are still young, and they are showing signs which are very important at a top club and it’s that ability to fight and he was one of a number of young players that did very well.”