Brendan on Calmac: “He deserves all the applause and plaudits”

Brendan Rodgers gave his assessment in his post match interview with BBC Sportsound after his Celtic side’s 1-0 win over Ross County on Saturday afternoon that extended the lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership to five points.

“It was a good result. We made a great start in the game to go 1-0 up so early and that was good. We then force errors from them and get the penalties. The penalty misses took a little bit out of the crowd and maybe the team.

“It made the first half more frustrating as we didn’t quite play with the tempo and structure that we wanted to. The second had was much better as we didn’t give too much away and we created opportunities but didn’t quite take them. In any game, if you are at 1-0 and going into those last moments there can be that little bit of anxiety but the players managed it well. Joe (Hart) had only one save to make late on and then we closed the game out.

Asked about any frustration of his side not being able to add to the scoreline when his side created so many chances and had all that possession, seemingly needing perhaps the luck of a 10 Bet – casino games winner, to find a second goal to calm everyone down inside an anxious Celtic Park.

“No. You want to do better with the ball and the opportunities that you have but it is also a game to win. The pitch is difficult as that will take the speed out of it. You could see some of the passes that the players played today where the ball popped up and got away from them and that is not normal.

“Overall you are never going to be perfect in every game. The players gave everything in the game and some guys were playing their first games and everyone has come through it hopefully,” the Celtic manager replied.

Simon Murray of Ross County vies with Cameron Carter-Vickers of Celtic during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic FC and Ross County FC at Celtic Park on January 27, 2024 . (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

On Cameron Carter-Vickers’ substitution to be replaced by Maik Nawrocki, Brenndan explained: Maik has played a few games and he is up to speed. It was important to get Cam in again as he is a very important player for us and getting him through 60 minutes was always the plan.”

On Callum McGregor making his 450th appearance for Celtic the manager had this to say: “It’s incredible. At a club like this here with the expectation and pressure it is remarkable really. He deserves all the applause and plaudits that comes with that.

“Having been here the first time and seeing what he did for me then to now see how he has developed and grown. To come back and see him as the leader of the club and the real catalyst for this group. I am very lucky to have him here and he is an absolutely brilliant player.

“He could have graced any top team in any league and I genuinely believe that. The teams I managed in the English Premier League which is deemed to be the best league in the world he could have played in any of those teams. He has wanted to be here at Celtic. To play 450 games as a young guy through the academy is remarkable.

And on Joe Hart maintaining his concentration throughout before saving the day as Ross County threatened in the closing stages Brendan said: “People say that. You saw it last week as he did not have a great deal to do but the one thing he did have to do was to save well when the guy from Buckie Thistle was clean through.

“Likewise, he didn’t have a great deal to do today but late on he gets down well to save and then gets up for the second ball. He is a top professional and everything about his game is first-class. It was nice for the team to keep a clean sheet.”

On players missing penalties, and in particular Luis Palma missing two on Saturday the manager had this to say. “I think he has missed a few now and we will have to look at that. I am all for giving players opportunities and confidence especially if you make mistakes but there is no doubt we will have to look at that side of things.

And a final word of any movement in or out in the January transfer window, it seems that there’s nothing to report. “Not unless you can tell me something that has happened. Unless I’m a mind reader and can tell what people are thinking or doing while I am concentrating on a game I’ve got no answers for you.”

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