BRENDAN Rodgers is known to be gambler but he has showed his hand ahead of Tuesday night’s Champions League qualifier against Armenia’s Alashkert.

The team which started yesterday’s friendly against Shamrock Rovers, a 7-0 stroll, will more than likely be the one given the task of ensuring nothing silly happens at the beginning of what Celtic hope and believe will be an extended stay in the tournament.

Gordon; Hendry, Simunovic, Ajer; Forrest, Ntcham, Brown, Tierney; McGregor; Dembele, Edouard lined up in a 3-5-2 and it’s a formation which Celtic fans are going to see a lot of this season.

With the club having spent a club record £9 million on teenager Odsonne Edouard, they did not do so he could strengthen the bench. Two strikers playing together is considered by some old school; however, it was interesting to see so many attacking players on the pitch.

Rodgers said: “We’ve played it before. I think it’s a system I’m doing more preparation with it. We have the personnel for it, especially when teams are sat in.

“In the first half in particular you see the numbers we have pouring forward and the speed. There are still things I need to iron out with it but we are very aggressive and very fast.

“You see Odsonne, he is such a clever player and he has got everything. And Moussa [Dembele] with his strength and his power, I think the combination within the system really works well for us.

“You see how they combine and their running off the ball. We want to get back to scoring more goals. That was one of the key items we looked at when discussing our goals for this year.

“It’s not necessarily about having two strikers because we normally play with three in a different way. It's about getting that aggression in attack and I’ve been really pleased with that over pre-season.”

Shamrock Rovers were not at full strength and at least they conceded two less than a years ago.

Celtic scored some good goals and survived a few heavy tackles which did not go down well with the visitors. Scott Brown actually stayed down following being kicked, which he never does, and stayed inside at half time. He will be fine for Tuesday.

Rodgers said: “It was a very good exercise for us. We love bringing the team to the supporters over here. In terms of what we are looking for at this stage of the season it was the perfect game.

“We played two teams – the first 65 minutes we were really strong with good pace and movement throughout the team. We defended very aggressively. There are one or two areas we need to develop in terms of the shape we are playing.

“And then of course we replaced that team with a younger team that was very dynamic. We go into the game at the best possible level we can be at. You look at the players and their running. I’m very pleased. Scott Sinclair has been back to what he was in his first season with us. He is very aggressive when we haven’t got the ball which is important for any of our players. But then he is very aggressive with the ball too, he scored one of our goals and came close with another shot.”

It began on nine minutes when James Forrest’s good pass gave Callum McGregor a run down the right, his low cross picked out Dembele who in turn found the bottom corner with his shot.

The second goal was nice as well. Kieran Tierney skinned Martins Olakanye, his cross was good as was Edouard’s header. McGregor, who really looked the part, made it 3-0 when he sneaked through the Rovers defence before producing a calm finish.

That was after 34 minutes and a minute before the break, Edouard showed great skill to nutmeg Luke Byrne and then sent an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net.

McGregor slid home the fifth on 62 minutes after some nice footwork by Dembele. The match by this stage was little more than a training exercise and Rodgers eventually changed the entire team.

Sinclair got the sixth after a dribble past four players and a one-two with Ryan Christie. Then Lewis Morgan ran past Rovers players as if they weren’t there before despatching the ball low in the corner.

Rodgers said: “I think Callum must be one of the most underrated players I’ve ever known. Just his ability to keep the ball but also to break the lines and score goals. First goal you see his speed to get in and then the finish. And then the desire off of Moussa’s strike, which might have went wide, to slide in and get his second goal. He is a super player and a talented player who can play in many positions for us.”

And soon it will begin again for real.