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  • Manager: We respect every game and always aim to improve

    Manager: We respect every game and always aim to improve

    By: Joe Donnelly on 08 Feb, 2019 18:01

  • DESPITE winning all three games against St Johnstone so far this season, Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers said he and his side will prepare for Sunday’s Scottish Cup fifth-round tie in the same way they would any other game.

    Two of those four games against the Saints have occurred within the past two weeks, with the Scottish champions having overcome the Perthshire side 2-0 on both occasions. The manager doesn’t expect much in the way of surprises this weekend, but looks forward to another hard-fought match against Tommy Wright's men.

    “We’ve played St Johnstone four times this season, but we’ve always tried to train the players that every game is different,” said Brendan Rodgers. “You have to respect every game, and we work very hard on excellency. That’s not easy.

    "When you’re winning games and playing well, sustaining that isn’t easy, but the beauty of these players is that they’re focused. We can always improve, we can always play better. Our objective is to get through after the weekend.

    “The players have been absolutely brilliant in their learning too, and training is important. The mid-season break has allowed us to press the reset button. There’re no time-outs in football games, and Dubai let us reinforce our principles.

    "We’ve started this part of the season well, and we always hope to improve. It’s our job to score goals and hopefully the supporters have something to cheer about.”

    With the Hoops’ last 32 UEFA Europa League clash with Valencia on the horizon, the manager described every game at Celtic as a big one, and praised St Johnstone’s enduring togetherness and tight line-management.

    As before, Brendan Rodgers stressed the importance of patience during Sunday’s game, and looks forward to the return of some of his injured stars in the coming days and weeks.

    The manager added: “Kieran Tierney has been back in with the team, which is great news. He’ll need to find football fitness, but it’s great to get him back out on the pitch. Emilio took a bad knock in Wednesday's game, so we’ll need to see how he is for the weekend. If he doesn’t make that, he should be fit for Valencia. James Forrest is back into training too, so we’ll see how he is for the weekend."

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