Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football Scottish Celtic

Rogic tackle was not a foul, insists Celtic boss Rodgers


Winning feeling: Leigh Griffiths and Brendan Rodgers
Winning feeling: Leigh Griffiths and Brendan Rodgers

By Anthony Keane

Brendan Rodgers says Celtic always relish the challenge of derby day in Glasgow after maintaining his unbeaten run against Rangers.

Olivier Ntcham bagged the only goal of the game at Celtic Park, where a combination of the woodwork and goalkeeper Allan McGregor prevented the Light Blues falling to a more comprehensive defeat.

"I always come into these games and try to ensure the players have a calmness in order for us to play well," said Rodgers.

"First and foremost, for us to have a chance of winning, we had to perform and I thought we performed exceptionally well. Allan McGregor has made some outstanding saves and he probably kept the scoreline down a little bit.

"A huge credit to the players in how we had to defended. In any moments of danger, we pressed really aggressively and worked our socks off, which you have to do - it's an obligation in the game.

"You saw the composure we had on the ball. We stayed patient, moved it and created opportunities. It was an outstanding win for us and equally a very good performance.

"I thought we had a host of very good players, but I thought Dedryck Boyata was outstanding. Anything that came into the box, he defended it, and the back four and the goalkeeper were very good. The team functioned very well, the positioning on the pitch was very good."

Though Gers boss Steven Gerrard felt Tom Rogic had impeded Ryan Jack in the build-up to Ntcham's goal, Rodgers said: "I didn't see it as a foul. The ball came out of the box and both of them have come together.

"There wasn't a lot of contact from both really. What is most important is the referee was right on the spot so he sees it.

"We still have a lot of work to do breaking away, it was very impressive.

"Olivier's a real talent. You saw his power and passing ability and his speed to be up on the counter-attack to finish it off. He still had to travel 65-70 yards up the pitch, but how we worked the ball and worked the space and how he finished it - it was a very good goal."

Following a spell of negativity exacerbated by frustrations during the transfer window, Rodgers was delighted to celebrate three points at a jubilant Parkhead.

"It doesn't matter who we play, it's always clear we appreciate the support, win, lose or draw here - but of course, these games are extra special for the supporters," he added.

"The atmosphere was incredible today. It was a real wall of noise going round the stadium. They'll be happy, the players are happy and I'm delighted with the performance."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph