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Rodgers hails Celtic spirit after St Johnstone draw

Celtic 1 St Johnstone 1

By Ronnie Esplin

Celtic go into the international break in fine fettle despite dropping their first two points of the season against St Johnstone, according to boss Brendan Rodgers.

Saints striker Steven MacLean gave the visitors the lead at Parkhead on Saturday just before the break, and the Hoops' 52-game unbeaten domestic run was under threat until substitute Callum McGregor grabbed a late leveller.

Rodgers was happy with his side's determination to extend their impressive run in the fourth Ladbrokes Premiership fixture of a season which already promises more success for the treble winners.

"I can be nothing but proud of the team and everything they put into it," said the Northern Irishman, who will not be signing Rivaldo Coetzee from South African side Ajax Cape Town after the 20-year-old defender failed a medical with a foot problem.

"We always want three points but we accept the point.

"We have three wins and a draw in the league, we're in the quarter-final of the League Cup and also qualified for the Champions League, so it's been a great start to the season for us.

"The players in the second half, showed their heart, spirit and desire to not the lose the game. That's something we've created here within the squad.

"We did everything we could to get the win but we couldn't so we'll take the point."

After the game, Rodgers revealed physio Tim Williamson had flown over to South Africa to complete Coetzee's medical.

However, it emerged the player has an ''underlying problem with his right foot'' and will be further assessed by his club.

A statement on Ajax Cape Town's official website read: "Ajax Cape Town can confirm that Rivaldo Coetzee will return to the club from Johannesburg where the player was undergoing a medical examination ahead of a proposed transfer to Scottish champions, Glasgow Celtic.

"Following a routine medical examination carried out by the Celtic medical department they discovered an underlying problem with his right foot. The clubs were therefore unable to conclude the deal based on the medical information available. The player will return to Ajax Cape Town for further evaluation.

"The injury has not hampered Coetzee to date, having not missed out on any competitive action either for his club or the national team. Ajax Cape Town can confirm that they were not aware of any condition that would have potentially hampered a transfer to Celtic."

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright, meanwhile, was happy with his side's performance against the champions.

He said: "We knew they were going to throw everything at us. We deserved a point and they deserved a point with the amount of chances they created.

"Overall I was really pleased."

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