BRENDAN Rodgers was delighted with his players superior fitness as Celtic settled their two-legged first Champions League qualifier against FC Alashkert after just one game.

The Scottish champions’ impressive 3-0 win in Armenia makes next Wednesday’s return a chance of the manager to rest certain players as he looks ahead to a hectic schedule of eight matches in eight midweeks.

Odsonne Edouard scored just before half-time, before James Forrest and Callum McGregor got among the goals in the last ten minutes when the Scottish champions look the stronger side despite only being back three weeks.

Read more: FC Alashkert 0 Celtic 3: No drama for Brendan Rodgers' men in Armenia​

“I think when you can score late goals like we did it tells you everything about the fitness,” said a happy Rodgers. “And to do that in these conditions was fantastic.

“I was very proud of the players’ fitness. We are only three and a half weeks in, playing against a team that’s half-way through its season, and so it’s a great mark of how the players are working, which at the moment is very, very hard.

“We pride ourselves on how hard we work, how hard we run, and the intensity of our game. It’s a huge testament to how focused, how concentrated and fit they are at this point, and there is still a long way to go for them. It was evident in a game that had some meaning to it and that really pleases me.

“I think firstly created a number of opportunities tonight, we scored three goals and could have scored more. It’s important not to concede. 

“Next week we come to our home stadium where we love playing and we expect another tough game but of course it’s only the first game. But we have a good advantage and we must make sure we exploit that advantage next week.

“I think the first half we expected the home team, who are midway through their season, to come in the first ten and 15 minutes with a real intensity to their game. So, we had to withstand that pressure. 

“But I also thought as the half grew on we also created chances and opportunities as well. We were playing an opponent who is a good team, who are the champions of their country, and who you can see have some fast players. “

Read more: FC Alashkert 0 Celtic 3: No drama for Brendan Rodgers' men in Armenia​

Alashkert did manage to create chances but, as Rodgers said, Celtic’s fitness and obvious better players told in the end.

“This is the best team we have played in the first round in my three years of qualifying campaigns,” said Rodgers. “They had very fast, good technical players, and it was important that we stayed focused.”

“We got the goal just on half-time, which was important, and then in the second half we had good control of the game. 

“At half-time, we just had to adjust one or two items defensively in the team, in order to shorten the pitch and put a little bit more pressure on the ball. In the second half it was just about finding the spaces to control the game. 

“We had to build the game a little better, I think we were trying to score too quickly in the first half. In the second half we could control the ball and we felt if we could get into the right areas of the field that could open up Alashkert and then we could exploit the space in between the defensive lines. 

“It was just really about control, staying calm with the players, but also asking for more from the performance.”