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  • Manager: I'm so proud of my players for winning title in style

    Manager: I'm so proud of my players for winning title in style

    By: Paul Cuddihy on 29 Apr, 2018 15:27

  • BRENDAN Rodgers was well aware of the magnitude of today’s game against Rangers. Victory would deliver the league title back to Paradise, making it seven-in-a-row for the Hoops, while it would also be the first time in 39 years that Celtic clinched the title in a Glasgow derby.

    Yet, ahead of the game, he told his players to focus on their game and ensure that they played to their strengths. And the Hoops squad responded in style, thrashing their city rivals 5-0 to send Paradise into seventh heaven. Not surprisingly, it was a very proud Celtic manager who spoke after the title-clinching game.

    “Our basic rules today were very simple,” Brendan Rodgers explained. “It was to attack with real aggression and intensity, try and recover the ball as we quickly as we could whenever we lost it, and if we couldn’t do that, make sure we were tight and compact, and look to dominate as much of the ball as we could, and give it our best shot.

    “And I don’t think I could have asked any more of the players. They were absolutely brilliant and I’m really proud.

    “These games are full of emotion, but we said to the players beforehand that we obviously knew the consequences of the game and all the historical facts around it – for us to win the title against Rangers for the first time in 39 years – but we said to them that they had to play football.”

    From the first whistle, it was clear that the Celtic players were intent on securing the three points required to confirm their status as Scottish champions.

    Odsonne Edouard, leading the line in place of the injured Moussa Dembele, opened the scoring on 14 minutes, and he doubled the lead with four minutes of the first-half remaining before James Forrest produced a stunning solo effort to make it 3-0 at half-time.

    Further goals from Tom Rogic and Callum McGregor ensured it was a five-star showing, and only some great saves from Rangers goalkeeper, Jak Alnwick, prevented an even heavier defeat for the Ibrox side.

    And the breathtaking display from the players was met by a similarly inspirational performance from the Celtic supporters packed into Paradise.

    “For us and our fans, it was a special day to wrap up the title,” the manager said. “We had a performance away at Hearts last season to win the league.

    “I’m really pleased with how the players coped with that pressure and expectancy. To then go and stay as calm as they did but play with that intent in the game was really pleasing, and the supporters obviously responded to it.

    “There won’t be too many atmospheres like there was today around the world. This is a wonderful football club. Celtic versus Rangers games are renowned throughout the world for reasons like today. It was a real special atmosphere and it was great that we could make our supporters happy.”

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