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Watch THAT goal as Rodgers claims Tierney is born to be Celtic captain

Celtic 5 - 0 Kilmarnock

By Ronnie Esplin

Brendan Rodgers hailed Kieran Tierney as a future full-time captain of Celtic after the stand-in skipper scored a wonder goal in the 5-0 Betfred Cup win over Kilmarnock at Parkhead.

The Hoops were cruising through to the quarter-finals with a Leigh Griffiths double and a first Celtic goal for 18-year-old Anthony Ralston when 20-year-old Tierney, captain in the absence of suspended Scott Brown, fired in a wonderful fourth from 35 yards.

That came in the 65th minute and was followed by midfielder Stuart Armstrong completing the rout from close range.

Ulsterman Rodgers said: "We have got some real senior guys at the club I could give the armband to, like Mikael Lustig and Craig Gordon, but when you are talking about the future, once Scott's time is up which it won't be for a few years, he is made for it.

"He is of that ilk. He doesn't waste his time doing stupid things, he is concentrated on his football, he is not drinking, he trains like an animal every day and wherever you ask him to play he plays it to a high level.

"Tactically he is improving all the time and he is an absolute joy to work with. He would fit the mould as a captain. He is on that journey to lead the club."

Ralston was one of five teenagers in the starting line-up, joining Kundai Benyu, Kristoffer Ajer, Calvin Miller and Eboue Kouassi, which pleased the Hoops boss. Rodgers said: "It was a great demonstration of the strength of our squad. We had six players 20 and under at the start.

"It also shows it is a club for young players to develop and come through and I was delighted for Tony to get his first goal."

Celtic always looked comfortable. Kilmarnock's Jordan Jones lost possession to Jonny Hayes and in his haste to recover he clumsily tripped the former Aberdeen winger inside the box.

Griffiths smashed his spot-kick low past goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald. And when Ralston rose to head in a Griffiths corner from eight yards in the 21st minute, it already looked game over.

Griffiths soon escaped a square-looking back-line to race on to a Tierney pass and slip the ball into the net.

The second half was no easier for Kilmarnock. In the 65th minute, Tierney, with time and space, arrowed a long-distance drive high into the top corner.

Five minutes later, Armstrong knocked a Ralston cross over the line from six yards to further demoralise a punch-drunk Killie who spent most of the rest of the game trying to avoid conceding any more goals.

Kouassi went off with a knee injury in the first half and Rodgers said: "It was the only disappointment. We will wait to see the scan."

Kilmarnock boss Lee McCulloch had no complaints about the result.

He said: "It was hard work.

"It was always going to be an uphill task after losing the penalty and we gave away a couple of poor goals but to be brutally honest we didn't deserve a lot from the game."

CELTIC: Gordon, Ralston, Ajer, Tierney, Miller, Kouassi (Ntcham 40), Armstrong, Hayes, Rogic, Benyu (McGregor 70), Griffiths (Forrest 64).

Goals: Griffiths 14, (pen) 29, Ralston 21, Tierney 65, Armstrong 71

Subs not used: Bitton, Sinclair, Lustig, De Vries.

KILMARNOCK: MacDonald, Wilson (O'Donnell 59), Greer, Broadfoot, Taylor, Burke, McKenzie, Power, Frizzell, Jones (Graham 45), Erwin. Subs not used: Boyd, Thomas, Waters, Samizadeh, Bell.

Man of the match: Tierney

Match rating: 7/10

Referee: Alan Muir

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