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Rodgers is full of cheer as Hoops rack up century of points

By Ronnie Esplin

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers was delighted as his team stretched their unbeaten domestic run with a 3-1 win at Aberdeen and hit the 100-point mark in the process.

Rodgers’ side raced into a 3-0 lead within 11 minutes at Pittodrie, thanks to goals from Dedryck Boyata, Stuart Armstrong and Leigh Griffiths in the Ladbrokes Premiership clash.

But after Jonny Hayes pulled one back, it became a battle that will extend into the Scottish Cup final in two weeks’ time.

Rodgers said: “It was a brilliant win for us. It’s a difficult place to come, and we scored three very good goals. We looked a real threat every time we went forward.

“I’m very proud of the team for the way they played against a team who were very direct. We’ve shown another side to our game, and with a better final pass in the second half, we could have scored another couple of goals.

“If they play that way again the in the cup final, we can cope. It’s an entirely different game. You’re going into a game where the supporters are balanced, the pitch is good, and it’s a pressure game.

“It’s a different type of game entirely which is why I was reluctant to say tonight had an effect.”

Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes was effusive in his praise of his side’s performance for 80 minutes of the match, and that of Hayes in particular. But he criticised his side’s early defending.

“I was actually pleased with how we started middle to front,” McInnes said. “We implemented what we wanted to do. As good as you can be between both boxes, you still have to defend.

“We were on the ropes, and we really needed an adrenaline hit. Jonny Hayes gave us that. I thought the better players tonight had red shirts on, but Jonny was the best of the lot. The crowd needed a lift and the players needed some inspiration.

“What a goal he scored. It was top class, a really calm finish, and from then on in I thought we had the better chances.

“I’m not here for glorious failure, but I recognise the performance from the team. We wanted the result tonight, but the performance was what I was more keen to see. Celtic needed to know that in two weeks’ time they’ll face a confident Aberdeen team, and that’s exactly what we’ll be.”

McInnes was incensed that referee Steven McLean failed to award his side a spot-kick for Craig Gordon’s challenge on Graeme Shinnie.

“It’s a penalty kick,” McInnes said. “It’s a foul any day of the week anywhere else on the pitch.

“Gordon’s hesitant coming off his line, Shinnie’s determination gets him the ball, and he gets clattered. I don’t think it’s a red card, but it is a penalty.”

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