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  • Manager hails free-scoring Celts after Dublin victory

    Manager hails free-scoring Celts after Dublin victory

    By: Mark Henderson in Dublin on 08 Jul, 2017 19:43

  • BRENDAN Rodgers was highly-satisfied with the attacking play of his players after Celtic routed Shamrock Rovers 9-0 today in Dublin in their final pre-season fixture.

    In a one-sided contest at Tallaght Stadium, Stuart Armstrong and Scott Sinclair helped themselves to doubles, while Mikael Lustig, Moussa Dembele, James Forrest, Tom Rogic also found the net.

    And summer signing Jonny Hayes enjoyed an early birthday present as he opened his account for the club in his home city, one day before he turns 30.

    Speaking exclusively to Celtic TV after the game, the manager said “It’s the identity of trademark of the team which we have created. They never relaxed and kept working. I thought defensively, fundamentally, we were very good in terms of our pressing.

    “These are the games where you are building up that element of fitness to go and press and get on the ball, and then from that then our quality came through.

    “We were very good in some our play and some of the goals we scored. It was very pleasing. It was only our fourth game (of pre-season) but I can see the development in how the team is building up.

    “When you are an attacking player and come to your new club, it’s important to get off the mark early,” added the Hoops boss when asked about Hayes getting off the mark with the Bhoys.

    “He has settled in very well off the field. He is a good guy, a mature guy, and he has mixed in really well over the last couple of weeks.

    “We don’t need to rush him but he’s going to make a big contribution to the squad and you saw that today in the half hour he was on, when he showed his pace and his crossing ability, and he has an eye for a goal. He got his goal and that will make him happy and he can continue to build on that throughout the season.”

    It was the Invincibles’ last friendly fixture before they begin their competitive campaign next Friday against Linfield in the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round first-leg.

    And the Irishman was pleased to see his charges get another valuable workout under their belts in their search for full match sharpness.

    “It was very pleasing,” he said. “You are building your fitness through pre-season, but you are also trying to develop the tactical element of the team as well, and I thought on both accounts it was very good.

    “You know when you play games and teams like this, they are going to fight, going to work and are going to make it difficult, especially when you come to Ireland, as Celtic are held in such high esteem over here.

    “It was a great game and a lovely day for the supporters, and the pitch was really nice. The hospitality of everyone here has been first-class since we arrived yesterday and, importantly, for us, it was a very good workout at this time of year.

    The only blot on the copybook was the sight of Scott Brown leaving the prematurely in the first half, but the manager revealed it wasn’t a serious knock.

    “His achilles was a little bit sore and we just need to asses that over the next couple of days, but nothing too serious I don’t think, but we will see how that is," he said.

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