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  • Manager highlights positives after home stalemate

    Manager highlights positives after home stalemate

    By: Mark Henderson on 09 May, 2018 23:08

  • BRENDAN Rodgers believes the positives of tonight’s goal-less draw with Kilmarnock were that several members of his squad got much-needed game-time under their belts.

    The manager made six changes for the penultimate league match of the season, following last weekend’s win away to Hearts, with Jack Hendry, Jozo Simunovic, Calvin Miller, Stuart Armstrong, Patrick Roberts and Scott Sinclair all coming into the starting XI.

    In the closing stages, Ewan Henderson became the latest Celtic Youth Academy player to make a first-team appearance after coming on from the bench – a memorable moment in the teenager’s fledging career.  

    Despite the alterations, the champions, who have already wrapped up a seventh successive title, completely dominated the contest but were unable to breach a disciplined and well-organised opposition.   

    They did come close to finding the net, most notably through Hendry’s second-half header which flew inches wide, but Steve Clarke’s side held firm as the match ended in stalemate.

    Speaking after the game, the Hoops boss said: “They were compact and tight. If you make the breakthrough in these games it gives you a better opportunity but we didn’t quite do that. It was a typical 0-0.

    “Tonight was about giving the guys who have been on the sides an opportunity – the likes of Stuart Armstrong, Patrick Roberts, Jozo Simunovic, those who haven’t had a lot of game-time.

    “The likes of young Calvin Miller came in and got more game-time and experience, while young Ewan, who is a talent, came on. There were real positives from that aspect, guys getting onto the pitch who are giving me everything every single day.

    “You are always hoping you can make the breakthrough. We had a couple of chances and obviously we had the goal disallowed in the first half which looked offside. Jack Hendry also went close with a header and there were a couple of moments where we got in but just couldn’t make the final pass.”

    With Odsonne Edouard and Leigh Griffiths both sidelined and Moussa Dembele recently returning from injury, Roberts was tasked with spearheading the attack.

    And the manager admitted that the absence of his three strikers limited his options, though he added that Dembele would be available for the final league fixture of the campaign against Aberdeen on Sunday.   

    “There was no doubt if I had all my strikers available and fit, I would have played a different system, thinking of how you play against that low block – but it was too big a risk,” said the Irishman.

    “Moussa’s my only fit striker at the moment and he’s coming back from injury. He played great at the weekend, but we just didn’t want to risk him for this midweek game and he’ll obviously feature again at the weekend.”

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