BRENDAN Rodgers last night admitted Celtic lacked “courage and belief” in Russia as they crashed out of the Europa League at the hands of Zenit St Petersburg.

The Scottish champions were a shadow of the team which won the first leg and nobody could complain about the 3-0 defeat on a night when the home side were in total control after taking a seventh-minute lead to level the tie.

Rodgers did not attempt to dress up yet another away game in which his team did not show the same attributes as they did in Glasgow and if he did not know it already, his squad are short of where he would want them to be well into his second season as manager.

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“Defensively we lacked aggression, particularly in the first half,” said a dejected Rodgers.

"We didn’t close the space quickly enough. “The corner is one that can happen, we were blocked off, they worked it well and found the space. Branislav [Ivanovic] is outstanding in the air. The second goal, we didn’t engage quick enough from the throw-in. We’re too deep and have to press the guy who was shooting. But at 2-0, we still have an opportunity in the game. Everything was too sideways and backwards. That’s about bravery and having that courage to play.

“With so many young players in the team, you see the contrast from last week. We started the second half okay but, again, we concede possession too cheaply and they work the ball round for a cross. We should never concede that type of goal.

Read more: Zenit 3, Celtic 0: Scots crash out of Europa as same old mistakes blight European campaign

“We were much better than them in the first leg. If we played with a little bit more courage and belief tonight, we could maybe have got a result.”

Celtic have now gone 12 away games in the Europa League without keeping a clean sheet, and this defeat was the heaviest n the competition since the 1991 5-1 loss to Neuchatel Xamax in Switzerland.

The night belonged to Zenit and their delighted manager, Roberto Mancini.

He said: “Celtic are a strong team but we played a beautiful game. We played very well, scored goals and made chances. For 75 minutes we did not give Celtic any chances.”