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  • Manager hails Boyata return as Celts cruise to Dens Park triumph

    Manager hails Boyata return as Celts cruise to Dens Park triumph

    By: Mark Henderson on 20 Sep, 2017 23:29

  • BRENDAN Rodgers says he was delighted to see Dedryck Boyata return to action after over two months on the sidelines in tonight’s thumping 4-0 victory over Dundee in the League Cup quarter-finals.

    The Belgian internationalist, instrumental in Celtic’s stunning success last season, hadn’t featured since picking up a knee injury during the friendly with Slavia Prague in early July.

    But after coming through weeks of rehab, he was able to take his place in the starting XI at Dens Park, helping the Hoops shut out the hosts, before being substituted in the 67th minute for Anthony Ralston.

    Speaking after the game, the manager said: “We could have maybe played him against Ross County but we felt this was going to the better game for him so he got a good hour in and it was nice to see him back as he’s a big presence in the team and very dominant, and I thought he came through it really well.”

    The Scottish treble-winners produced a dominant display at Dens Park and they were in complete control at the break thanks to Scott Sinclair’s penalty and a fine first-time finish from James Forrest.

    Late goals from Callum McGregor and Forrest completed the job for the Bhoys and booked their place in the last four of the competition and a trip to Hampden in October.

    “It was a very good, very professional,” said the Hoops boss of the performance. “We played with a nice calmness in the game. We had to work them around the pitch. Dundee started with good organisation and we had to be patient in the game but once we scored the first goal, we gained that greater confidence in the game. We passed the ball very well and pressed it well when we had to and disrupted their game and scored very good goals.

    “We say to the team to never leave game early, you always have to be concentrated,” he continued. “What we did very well tonight, we had a rest with the ball.

    “We are always hungry to get the ball and our counter-pressing was good, but if we are to have any rest in the game it has to be with the ball, and I thought we controlled the tempo and that element of it very well. That tires the opponent and when we break through, we have the speed and the good technique, and Callum McGregoer’s goal is a great example of that.

    “We get the ball back, there is a great pass forward to Scotty and Callum actually starts three or four yards behind Scotty, but his hunger and desire to get up there and finish the goal was fantastic. All round the team played very well and played with a good professional attitude and kept a clean sheet.”

    The Irishman was also pleased to see Forrest continue his prolific form in front of goal, as the winger made it back-to-back doubles following his brace in Saturday’s league 4-0 success against Ross County.

    “He’s really improving his numbers,” said the manager. “Firstly defensively he is working very hard, with his pressing and his tactical idea of the game.

    “He has great quality off both feet. His first goal he comes on the inside and finishes really well and for his second one, he moves in off the line, young Odsonne plays him a nice little pass and he works his feet to get his shot off so two very good goals and a very good performance from him.”

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