“The glue that keeps us together,” Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers spoke with the assembled media earlier this week and revealed a number of things that pertain to his Celtic side.

Firstly, he confirmed the major news that Liel Abada now finds himself missing from the side for up to three or four months. Secondly, he confirmed that Cameron Carter-Vickers will be due back around October time which is another welcome bonus. And thirdly, that Reo Hatate will be fit and available for tomorrow’s visit of Dundee.

Celtic v Athletic Bilbao – Pre Season Friendly – Celtic Park Celtics Reo Hatate ahead of the pre-season friendly match Celtic Park, Glasgow. Picture date: Tuesday August 1, 2023. Photo Robert Perry

However, despite all these injuries that have occurred of late, the boss assured us that the result at Ibrox was no fluke and that this team is made of tough stuff. A depleted side turned the gun on our arch-rivals on the 3 September by rolling into town injury-ravaged and sauntering back out again with the full three points; leaving them frustrated and furious at their team and manager for letting a golden opportunity slip away.

We now find ourselves top of the pile again with some breathing space thanks to a monumental effort from Rodgers’ team and with more players returning from the sidelines to aid the cause in the coming weeks, the gaffer is looking for more of that spirit and grit. The manager said: “I’d rather have it now. When we went to our game against theRangers, it was well-documented about players that were missing and everything else.

 Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is seen at full time during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Rangers FC and Celtic FC at Ibrox Stadium on September 03, 2023 (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“But really the glue that keeps us together always is our togetherness and personality, and organisation. When we have that, whoever represents Celtic will hopefully have those qualities, and that’s what we look for in our team. It’s just unfortunate, we just have to deal with it and that’s the reason why you have a good squad.”

He said: “Obviously we have players coming into the squad that are new and it’s unfortunate when someone does miss out with injury, but it provides the opportunity for someone else. So, whoever that is and whenever that is, it’s an opportunity that you want the player to take, so without forcing it, it’s a great chance for him to come in and play and perform. It’s not so much headaches, just things to consider. Luis Palma won’t be back until tomorrow (Friday), so we have to have a wee look at that, it’s a long way he’s travelled. But there are lots of games for us that players will be involved in and we just have to make sure they’re ready.

Celtic v St. Johnstone – cinch Premiership – Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers during the cinch Premiership match on Saturday August 26, 2023. Photo Steve Welsh

“That’s the key and I think you saw that with the players so far. We’ve had players missing, but we’ve won three games and drew one, and two of those games have been away in real tough venues for us. So, the players have shown that they’re training well. They are working hard and when they are asked they know they need to be ready. That will be the case going forward.”

With Dundee’s frugality at the backline a key facet of their season thus far, Celtic will have to look for solutions to a problem that they are no stranger to in Scottish football. St Johnstone managed to nullify the Hoops a few weeks back and headed back to Perth with a point for their efforts and that cannot be allowed to happen again. The Irishman stressed that his side will have to be creative against Tony Docherty’s team, adding: “It’s up to us to find the solutions to that. Like I said, in the St Johnstone game we could have scored four or five goals, but didn’t.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is seen at full time during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between theRangers and Celtic FC at Ibrox Stadium on September 03, 2023 ]. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“Their keeper had a great day and we just didn’t put away our chances. I expect Tony’s team to be well-organised. I’ve seen their games and they’ve been unfortunate as well in some of those not to have had better results. It will be a tough game for us but that’s what you expect, you have to focus really on yourselves, do your work and work well, and hopefully we can get the three points.”

Paul Gillespie

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About Author

I'm a Garngad Bhoy through and through. My first ever Celtic game was a friendly against Italian side Parma at Celtic Park, in 2002. Currently a student of English Literature and Education at the University of Strathclyde for my sins. Favourite game would be a toss up between beating Manchester United with that Naka freekick, or the game against the Oldco when Hesselink scored in the dying seconds. I'm still convinced Cal Mac is wasted playing that far back.

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