It was always going to be a hard game whether we were 1-0 up or at 1-1.
Celtic are hoping for a third consecutive season in the group stages but first they will have to overcome the Greek champions, with the winners facing either Malmo or Hungarian side MOL Vidi FC in the Champions League play-off stage.
'But we went there and produced a really good performance and won the game.
"When we're at home we like to impose our game because we're a decent side as well and we know we can give them problems".
'We were in good control of the game and Athens were probably waiting and waiting to get to half time and regroup but obviously we conceded in the 44th minute.
'We respect that they are a good side, but we also showed tonight that we can play well, dominate the game and create chances. "It was always going to be a hard game for us over there but, after tonight and seeing how we played, it gives us great hope of going out there to get a result".
Amid a frenetic start, the Hoops left-back Kieran Tierney stung the hands of the AEK goalkeeper Vassilis Barkas with an angled drive from inside the box, with the defender Vasilios Lampropoulos completing the clearance.
It was the two energetic and enterprising Hoops players who combined for the opening goal, Tierney again working himself into a good position inside the box and his pass was pounced on by McGregor, who swivelled and fired the ball low into the corner of the net from 10 yards. It's just that final pass and that bit of luck sometimes where you need it to drop for you when there are so many bodies behind.
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Insisting his team can cancel out AEK's away goal by scoring themselves in Tuesday's second leg an upbeat Rodgers said: 'I don't think there's any question about that.
Celtic starting line-up: Gordon; Lustig, Hendry, Ajer, Tierney; Brown, Ntcham; Forrest, Rogic, McGregor; Edouard.
Another twist came when Galanopoulos, booked moments earlier for a foul on Tom Rogic, was sent packing for a cynical trip on Forrest and Parkhead was energised again.
AEK, in their first competitive game of the season, sat deep, happy to keep the scoreline intact.
"They play a 4-4-2 system and are very fast on the counter attack".
Manager Marinos Ouzounidis was appointed near the end of May this year, shortly after the departure of their previous coach.
"The crowd will be very important for us", he added.