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  • Manager: Competition spurred on brilliant Hoops

    Manager: Competition spurred on brilliant Hoops

    By: Tony Connelly on 08 Dec, 2018 18:39

  • BRENDAN Rodgers was delighted with Celtic’s brilliant performance in their 5-1 win over Kilmarnock, and he admitted that the competition for top spot in the league had brought the best out of his players.

    The game was put to bed in the first half-half as a dominant Hoops side scored four goals without reply against the league leaders, courtesy of James Forrest, Mikael Lustig, Odsonne Edouard and Ryan Christie

    Steve Clarke’s team got a goal back through a penalty early in the first half but Celtic maintained their high-intensity attacking football and were unfortunate not to add further to their margin of victory after Forrest secured a brace and his 11th of the season to make it 5-1.

    Reflecting on the performance after the game, Brendan Rodgers praised the way his players performed, and said the chance to reclaim first place in the league helped Celtic fulfil their potential.

    “It was a brilliant team performance,” he said. “Kilmarnock have been outstanding in the work Steve has done with them, especially in terms of how compact they are. They haven’t conceded a goal in four games until today.

    “I feel that competition will make us better. We always focus on our own standard, of course, but the competition helps you improve. Our performance did the talking today, as did the level and hunger of the players. It was a great day and good for the supporters as well.

    “How we played against that was near on perfect in terms of our positioning in-between their lines. It was very good. I’m so happy with the performance. Lots of short passes made it difficult for Kilmarnock to get there. it was a very good win for us. We scored five goals and hit the crossbar and the post in the second half. We scored four really good goals. It was four very good finishes. Our pressing and shape was very good.”

    The manager also touched on the decision to not to start Scott Brown and the absence of Kieran Tierney from the squad.

    “I have compassion for players, especially for ones who done amazingly for me, but what I don’t have is sentimentality,” he said. “It’s very clear for me that if a team’s playing well, that’s where it’s at.

    “We don’t rely on just 11 players, we need more than that. It’s clear for me the level and fluency of the team was great. My job is to pick a team that can win games and win titles. Callum McGregor and Ryan Christie, along with Tom Rogic, have been exceptional, not just in their football but how they press the game.

     “Kieran wasn’t quite right. We could have put him in but it would have been a risk when we have someone like Emilio there, who was outstanding today. Kieran should be fine and ready for Thursday. He had a slight issue around his groin area and we didn’t want to risk it. He wants to play every second of every game but you need to be sensible about it.”

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