“I’m very proud of the team over the last few weeks,” Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers spoke to the media after this evening to give his assessment of Celtic’s 3-0 win over St Mirren. Here’s what the Celtic manager had to say…

Brendan’s assessment of the game: “It can always be a tricky game mentally and physically after a Rangers game but I thought we dealt with it really well and we made the start we wanted to in the first ten minutes. It was good tempo, good speed so that set us up well in the game.”

The Celtic manager on his team’s attitude being spot-on: “That is what we talked about. These games are so important and I think as we work together more the players understand more and the mentality that is required and the demands and you can now see the standard of performance we have put in place. And then the results will come. Very, very good. The second half the only downside was we never took the chances we created but we were much better 11 v 10 than we were at the weekend. We spoke about that after Rangers. You have to really dominate possession and counter press and we did that really well in the second half.”

Brendan Rodgers on the winter break and if it’s frustrating to stop now: “Probably not. I have had flu and a cold for about a month, it has just been so busy. I think it’s a nice small period now for the players to recover because physically the demands are so much, especially how we want them to play and how intense we want them to be. So that will be nice for them to recover and then we will get back and we have loads of time to do a lot of work and be ready for our first cup game.“

The Celtic manager on his side being in a better place now after that mid-December blip: “I think you can see that it is getting better and improving. Those results against Kilmarnock and Hearts, it was about learning from those. I think you can see the difference in the team and how they are working. And sometimes you need that. To have success you need to have that bit of adversity. How the players have responded to that has been fantastic. Their mentality, their attitude, the speed, the tempo of the games is what we want as well with much more creativity. The second part of the season I am excited about.”

Brendan Rodgers on Paulo Bernardo development: “It is all patience. Sometimes at big clubs, there is no patience with young players. You can see him growing and developing. When you have young players that is what tends to happen if their attitude is right and their mentality is right. He has come in in these last few games and created goals and scored goals and he has put his foot in too. He is tenacious. Absolutely delighted for him. It is now about consistency.”

The Celtic manager on Callum McGregor and Matt O’Riley either side of Bernardo being the perfect players to link with: “Yeah. In all the teams I’ve ever had it’s the combination of the three, it’s never just the one. The three are so important, and whether he is in there with Reo Hatate or Matt or Callum, it’s the combination of the three. But he’s a great learner, he’s a different type of player, maybe not as dynamic as Hatate, but he’s functional and he learns. He knows the runs, he knows the pressing triggers, and he’s developing and improving.”

Brendan Rodgers on Kyogo missing out on the Japan squad for the Asian Cup: “Daizen was originally in the squad and Reo (Hatate) got called up a bit later. But Kyogo has been in and out of the squad so I was relaxed anyway. We had a look at all the numbers and what it might look like. But if he stays it’s really good news for us. But, for him, I’m sure he would have wanted to play in it.”

The Celtic manager’s thoughts on Reo Hatate and being pleased to get him some game-time: “You could see afterwards he was actually quite emotional to be back out on the pitch again. He’s put in so much hard work and he’s a big, big player for us. So hopefully he can go away and get some minutes and keep his fitness up because when he comes back he’s going to be huge for us in the second half of the season. So it’s great for him to be back and Liel as well because he brings a different dimension to the team – he’s a goal scorer but he plays wide, so he’s always running into score. Having those two players will help us play the kind of football we want to see.”

Brendan Rodgers and Matt O’Riley both spoke to Celtic TV after the match. Matt was making his 100th appearance for Celtic tonight and got a goal and an assist…

And the Celtic manager spoke to Sky Sports after the game…”I’m very proud of the team over the last few weeks… Overall it was a very good performance. There’ll be some recovery, it’s been a hectic month!”

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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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