Brendan Rodgers was on particularly good form himself in his post match interviews with Viaplay, Celtic TV and in his media conference after the Scottish Cup win at St Mirren. Here’s what the Celtic manager had to say in response to the mainstream media questions after the 2-0 win…
Q: You are through to the last eight, what were your thoughts on the game?
Brendan Rodgers: “I thought the boys did really well in tricky conditions and we knew it was always going to be a tough game with St Mirren in good form. I thought the guys managed it really well. We knew we would have to deal with direct balls and crosses in the box. In particular, in the second half, I thought we managed the game well and played some really good football and we could have won by three or four goals.
“To come out with a clean sheet and two goals and into the last eight is pleasing. I said to the players afterwards that I had great pride in that as there is a narrative around the team that if you are not strong-minded and don’t establish the collective mentality then it can hurt you, especially with so many young players. They came through it very well and they showed that they were fighting and did well together.”
Q: You were under a bit of pressure did you need that bit of calmness that Callum provided to look up, keep composure and find the pass that created the first goal for Kyogo?
Brendan Rodgers: “Yes. That’s the thing when you are defending the edge of the box when St Mirren puts the ball in that is very important as that is the area it comes to. He (Calmac) settled the game really well and he took a great touch and then hit a wonderful pass to Luis and it was a really good finish by Kyogo.
Q: Are you happy with how Kyogo and Palma reacted to being left out in midweek?
Brendan Rodgers: “They weren’t left out. They play a lot of games. We have played three tough away games in one week. They weren’t left out.”
Q: You are through to the quarter-final how important can a cup run be to the season now?
Brendan Rodgers: “It always is. It is the oldest cup competition in the world and Celtic have a brilliant history in it. We want to create some more brilliant memories. It was a tricky tie today and we are through to the quarter-final. We are in for this competition and the league.”
Q: You said there was a narrative coming into this but it felt a bit more like it today, didn’t it?
Brendan Rodgers: “The narrative has been there for a while. That’s the reality of it and we can only concentrate on ourselves. I am so proud of the players because this is a very young team and if you take Joe and Callum out of the team then there is a lot of inexperience at a high level consistently. How they are reacting and staying together is very important and whilst there is a lot of noise around we just continue to win football games.”
Q: That’s eight wins and a draw in the last nine games. It’s not the worst crisis, is it?
Brendan Rodgers: “I don’t think so. I think it has been clearly created outside. That’s why I say it. I don’t expect anything else. We just have to focus on ourselves. When you are at a winning club and you have won consistently for so many years people are quick to jump and bring us down and bring me down. I am here to win and for sure we will have our day and have many days moving forward. We will get our players back who are influential for us and the squad will be very strong until the end of the season and will continue to fight.”
Q: Can that be utilised as a positive to show people?
Brendan Rodgers: “We will just have to prove a point to ourselves and our supporters. That is the best attitude to have. You have to be always looking to prove a point. It is a part of the world where there is a lot of noise, particularly this year. It maybe hasn’t been as fluent this season but if you do any sort of analysis and know anything about football then you will see we are getting compared to the squad last season. Now if you do your work you will see it is not the same squad as last season. Lots of those players who were starters have not been playing for long periods of this season. It hasn’t stopped the focus being on negativity.
“I look at it differently. I look logically at it. We have missed some very important players for long periods and we made some changes in the summer and players left. The players here are giving everything and there are some younger players who are looking to develop and if they continue to do that we will keep winning games.”
Q: What was the situation with Liel Abada today?
Brendan Rodgers: “He wasn’t in the right frame of mind. I speak a lot to Liel and it has been a challenging time for him. I felt that when he came into the game the other night it just wasn’t him. We gave him a chance to get a few days and clear his mind. I will have a chat with him next week and we will see where he is at.”
Q: How is Alistair Johnston?
Brendan Rodgers: “It’s a slight fracture and we are waiting to hear. We will have a look at him in 10 days and he could be out for 10 days or four weeks. We will need to wait and see.”
Q: Are people underestimating the fact that you are missing key men?
Brendan Rodgers: “They are starters but we continue to fight on. There have been lots of disruptions in various ways but Celtic is about winning. We always want to win in the most attractive style we possibly can. I believe that will come. The games that we have played really well in, we have looked really good. It will come but in the meantime, you have got to win and that is another good win for us. We should have won at Aberdeen and that was three tough away games for us but the guys have come through them really well.”