CAPTAIN Scott Brown claims new boss Brendan Rodgers has brought the smiles back to the Celtic players as they look to reach the Champions League proper for the first time in three years.
The former Liverpool manager took over from Ronny Deila in May and his first competitive game will be the first leg of the second qualifying round against part-timers Lincoln Red Imps in Gibraltar on Tuesday night.
The Scotland skipper has been impressed by Rodgers and is hoping he will guide the Scottish champions back to the group stage after they failed in the play-off round for the last two seasons under Deila.
Brown said: “We need to get to the group stage. It has been two years now and it has been a hard two years to take.
“That is the reason I came to Celtic, to play in Champions League games against the big guns, and we are as good as anybody on our day.
“The gaffer has come in, the training has been phenomenal and all the lads have bought into it and there is a smile back on everyone’s face – especially the Celtic fans, and if they are behind us you never know what we can do.
“There is always confidence going into the Champions League, we always look forward to it.
“In the last couple of seasons, the final furlong has been really disappointing and this is the year we need to put it right.”
Brown believes Rodgers has already improved the side over the course of four unbeaten pre-season friendlies in Austria and Slovenia.
The midfielder said: “The gaffer has been talking through the way he wants us to play and it has been good from start to finish.
“We are more organised and defending from front to back, we are more of a team.
“The gaffer is huge on everyone working back, working as a team, pressing as a team and not being a team full of individuals.”