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Rodgers hits out at Cundy after Bhoys are criticised

By Ronnie Esplin

Boss Brendan Rodgers claims "ignorance" and a "lack of knowledge" underpinned the criticism of Celtic and Scottish football by radio presenter Jason Cundy.

After Celtic's 4-0 win at bottom side Inverness on Wednesday - which took them 27 points clear of Aberdeen at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership - the former Chelsea defender described the standard in the top flight in Scotland on his TalkSport show as "embarrassing".

The ex-Ipswich Town and Tottenham player also claimed the Hoops would struggle to beat Stoke City if they were in the Premier League while questioning the popularity of the Glasgow club in terms of fans.

However, Ulsterman Rodgers, a former youth coach at Stamford Bridge, said: "I know Jason, I worked with him at Chelsea. He has to create a programme which stimulates conversation.

"It is ignorance really. It's a lack of knowledge of football. The footballing world is more than the Premier League. We all want to see and love the Premier League and I was involved in it and it is a fantastic league but football is global and of course a club like Celtic is one of the biggest in the world.

"Jason will always be welcome to Celtic Park and he would be surprised I am sure."

Meanwhile, Rodgers claimed Tommy Gemmell was the forerunner of the modern-day full-back as he paid tribute to the Lisbon Lion. The former Hoops left-back, who scored in two European Cup finals, died aged 73 on Thursday after a long illness.

Gemmell levelled the scores in Celtic's 2-1 victory over Inter Milan in Lisbon in 1967, when they became the first British club to win the European Cup.

Ahead of the William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final tie against St Mirren at Celtic Park tomorrow, Rodgers said: "It was a sad, sad day for everyone.

"Firstly, a truly brilliant player. If you talk about the modern-day full-back getting forward and attacking, Tommy Gemmell was that in the 1960s.

"He went on to play over 400 games for Celtic and lived his life as a Lisbon Lion and regarded that role as a real ambassador of honour for the club and until his last breath Celtic was in his heart so he is someone who will never be forgotten.

"But for Tommy and guys like him, Celtic wouldn't be the iconic club it is."

Former Celtic manager and captain Neil Lennon mourned the loss of a "real character" so close to the 50th anniversary of the club's greatest triumph.

The Hibernian head coach said: "I knew he wasn't well but it's still a shock. I was very fond of Tommy, he was very good to me in my time as a player and a manager, so I was upset with the news. It's another one of that great team gone, particularly in this significant year as well.

"He was a fantastic player and a real character, as they all are. I'm really sorry for his family and I'm sorry to lose him.

"And all the Lions, they have this exuberance and confidence that has come from having such a fantastic career and being a special team."

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