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  • Benkovic targets return to the top for the Hoops

    Benkovic targets return to the top for the Hoops

    By: Joe Sullivan on 06 Dec, 2018 11:31

  • CELTIC missed out on the opportunity to reclaim top spot in the league on Wednesday night, but they can bounce right back against current league leaders, Kilmarnock, when the Ayrshire side come to Paradise on Saturday.

    The Hoops could have returned from Fir Park on Wednesday with full points – and No.1 spot in the league – had what seemed like a perfectly good goal from Filip Benkovic not been chalked off.

    Speaking after the game, the Croatian defender said: “I'm disappointed because we had the opportunity to go top of the table and we had some bad luck during the game, but now we must look at the positives and focus on the next game.

    “We gave everything in the game and we knew how important it was, but this is football and we must think about the positive things and we will be looking for a win on Saturday.

    "Kilmarnock have done well this season and we respect their team, but we must look for the win in that game and we are 100 per cent focused on this game. The manager has told us to focus on Saturday because it is a very important game and we can go top of the table in this game.”

    Benkovic has slotted seamlessly into the Hoops defence where he has formed a formidable partnership with Dedryck Boyata. That now looks set to be replaced in the meantime by a Croatian double-act as an injury to Boyata sees him as a doubt for the forthcoming games.

    In stepped Benkovic’s fellow-countryman, Jozo Simunovic, and the Croats teamed up during the second half of Sunday’s League Cup final win over Aberdeen and the midweek 1-1 draw with Motherwell at Fir Park.

    Benkovic said: “It’s been good, Motherwell had maybe one chance and they scored. We know each other well and I'm looking forward to playing alongside him in the games coming up. We know each other, we speak the same language and we must be behind each other, and I’m positive about the overall situation.”

    The central-defender is just one of the many players who have flourished under Brendan Rodgers’ guidance and the manager’s tactical play, and the Croat couldn’t be more delighted.

    He said: “When I came here I knew that there were parts of my game that had to progress, also in a physical way and in winning duels. This is important for me because I think I'm getting better step-by-step, but there is still work to be done because I want to get better than I am now. Every day I want to be better.”

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