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Celtic have struck gold with Rogic, says Brendan Rodgers

Kilmarnock 0 Celtic 2

By Ronnie Esplin

Boss Brendan Rodgers hailed "fantastic" Tom Rogic after the Celtic midfielder engineered the Hoops' 2-0 win over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Saturday.

The Australia international showed quick feet to get away from Adam Frizzell to set up stand-in striker James Forrest for the opener before the break.

A much-changed Hoops side largely controlled the second half and with two minutes remaining, Rogic forged forward to play in midfielder Callum McGregor, who sealed the win and three Ladbrokes Premiership points.

Asked about Rogic's contribution, Ulsterman Rodgers said: "He is a big talent. If you watch the goal closely, it was just absolute magic. We worked the ball really well and if you notice on the replay he just lifts it over their player and continues his run.

"If he tries to put it on the floor the defender blocks him. He has the awareness to square it and it wasn't an easy finish for James but he guided it in.

"And the second one shows the difference between a player who goes forward or just keeps possession. We always like to have good positions, we want to keep the ball but we also want to penetrate and players like him, in the attacking third, they give you the ability to do that. He is a fantastic talent."

Rodgers made six changes to his side as Stuart Armstrong, who signed a new two-year contract on Friday, fellow midfielder McGregor, and teenagers Kristoffer Ajer, Calvin Miller, Anthony Ralston and Kundai Benyu came into the side.

The former Swansea City and Liverpool boss was pleased by the way his young players adapted. He said: "It is how we train. They have to understand the structure of the team so it is just replacing one player for one with a similar profile.

"That is what you look for when you are recruiting players.

"There needs to be a certain ability to run, to be mobile and have good levels of technique and be able to take on board information.

"So if there is a player that comes through, they should have all those attributes and when you take one out, you put one in. It is just a clone really. So it was very pleasing."

The Killie fans were vastly outnumbered in their own ground as the hosts suffered their third successive home league defeat since the start of the season, which left boss Lee McCulloch saying: "The home form in the last seven years has been the worst in the club's history but I don't know why. I would love someone to tell me.

"There has been different managers, different players, a different pitch. I would like to find the answer to that.

"I think it is easy for teams to come here and play at a lovely 18,000-seater stadium with no pressure on them. I have been here before with two teams and it was a hard place to play. It used to be a hard place to play because it was a pretty intense atmosphere.

"For some reason we have got away from that and I think it is easier for the away team."

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