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Tactical tinkering keeps Bhoys one step ahead: Rodgers

Celtic 4 Ross County 0

By Ronnie Esplin

Brendan Rodgers believes flexibility will be key to his second year in charge at Celtic.

The Northern Ireland man took over from Ronny Deila in May 2016 and guided the Hoops to the domestic treble last season without losing a game.

After suffering a 5-0 beating by Paris St Germain in their Champions League opener last Tuesday, Rodgers made five changes and went with a bold 3-1-4-2 formation for the visit of Ross County in the Ladbrokes Premiership on Saturday.

Midfielder Tom Rogic opened the scoring with a drive in the 13th minute and three minutes from the break, 21-year-old French striker Moussa Dembele, back for the first time since July after recovering from a hamstring injury and partnering Leigh Griffiths, fired in his first of the season.

Winger James Forrest added two more in the second half to take Celtic two points clear of Aberdeen at the top of the table ahead of the trip to Dundee in the Betfred Cup on Wednesday.

Rodgers, who confirmed missing left-back Kieran Tierney had simply been rested, said: "I always look at the opponents.

"I have been up here for a year and I have been able to see how teams set up.

"What is important is noting the flexibility of the players.

"They are growing into all these systems that I am throwing at them.

"We play teams four/six times a year and of course Celtic always has to be dominant.

"It can never be stale. You never can be predictable and so having the flexibility to play the different systems that we do will hopefully make it challenging for the opponents each time we play.

"Playing with the two strikers, the width and numbers on the inside it worked well. Let's see what Dundee brings."

While Celtic extended their unbeaten domestic run to 55 games, County have gone six matches without a win and are two points above bottom side Kilmarnock.

However, manager Jim McIntyre insists the Highlanders cannot be judged on how they fare against the champions.

He said: "The bottom line is we won't be judged by what we do against Celtic but we still want to be better than what we were.

"They are expected to win at home to Ross County but I expect my team to be better, more in their face than what we were in the first half certainly, although the second half was an improvement."

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