“We were the team that played the football,” Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers was delighted that his Celtic team put on another show at Ibrox and had it not been for some unfortunate defending and poor officiating AGAIN, we might have emerged with all three points on the day. Alas, it wasn’t to be and the Hoops boss, his players and the supporters of the club had to be contented with just a point for their endeavours’ at the home of their fierce rivals.

That steely-determination and grit was there for all to see in Govan on Sunday lunchtime, but it was more than that that pleased the manager, whose side have come in for some considerable flak this year. After the match, a happy Rodgers said to Celtic TV: “I really enjoyed it although we’re disappointed not to win because I thought we were much the better team up until their penalty. We were the team that played the football, were controlled and some of our play in the first-half was outstanding, while dealing with the long ball that they play.’

“So through to half-time and the beginning of the second-half we were excellent in the game. You expect something from Rangers, being at home, and I thought they got a bit of a leg-up with the penalty. I didn’t think it was a penalty because I think it was right on-field – Alistair Johnston’s got a nice recovery tackle in and he nicks the ball away, the player goes down and gets booked for simulation, which I felt was correct because he was looking to win the penalty.But they get the penalty and score, and then at 2-1, there’s a wee bit of momentum with them.

Our gaffer was so contented with the spirit and desire his team showed in difficult circumstances after the penalty award. He continued: “They got a bit of luck for their second goal with the deflection, so it was 2-2 and the challenge was then on – do you have the heart, the desire and the will to keep going and the players were brilliant in that. They kept fighting and we got a great third goal, and looked like we could see it through, but then they scored a fantastic goal at the end.

“But the key for us today was still having it in our hands, and that’s exactly the way it is. The players will be disappointed not to get the win – we always want to win – but it was a really good performance in a tough environment without our own supporters but I’m sure they’ll be really proud of their team and everything they gave.”

Having all our key players back match-day and firing will make a huge difference in the title run-in, with Rodgers expecting us to be even better when Clement brings his team to Glasgow’s East End in a few week’s time. He added: “I thought we were much the better team in terms of how we played, how we worked the ball, how we passed it, the combinations that we found. And I think in a few weeks’ time as we go through – we’ve still got a job to do in the other games – but I think when we come two or three weeks down the line, players will be even fitter and stronger, and like you saw today, the composure the players showed to play some of the football they did, and look to attack the game, I was so proud of them.

“It’s still all to play for, with six games to go, but we leave here knowing it’s with us. We do the job in the other games, we get Celtic Park with 60,000 there and that’s what we’ll look forward to. We came back and showed the heart to keep going. It was a great pass by Paulo Bernardo and Adam spins, using his body really well and he finishes it really well, so it’s just a shame it wasn’t the winning goal. But, in saying that, they scored a fantastic goal, it was a great strike, so we just have to accept it.”

He said: “We keep the faith, the players showed great courage today and you see what the team was trying to do, not only that, but the heart and fight that they had. So we leave here today – they’ll be disappointed they haven’t won – but we’ve seen a really good game, seen the team play well and we can take that forward into the remaining games.”

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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