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Tuesday 25 April 2017

Bren hails Celts in old firm frenzy

Bhoys boss had 10-man plan for Ibrox

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers, pictured during Saturday’s win over Rangers at Ibrox.
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers, pictured during Saturday’s win over Rangers at Ibrox.

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers was so worried his team would get caught up in Saturday's Old Firm frenzy he made them practise with 10 men.

The Hoops boss was left fearing that premonition could come true when skipper Scott Brown was given a early booking for a foul on Rangers' James Tavernier.

But the Parkhead boss praised his captain after he refused to be sucked in by the powder-keg atmosphere, seeing out a 2-1 win that moved Celtic 19 points clear at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership.

Rodgers said: "We did an exercise on this the other day because in these games you need to stay calm.

"We had a few bookings but the last thing you need to do in a derby game is go down to 10 men.

"You have to play with responsibility but Scott was again outstanding."

Goals from Moussa Demeble and Scott Sinclair handed the undefeated leaders a 15th straight league win after Kenny Miller had given Gers early hope.

And the matchwinner was thrilled to end 2016 on a high after rejuvenating his career in Glasgow.

Former Manchester City and Aston Villa wideman Sinclair said: "The main thing was to win the game and finish off 2016 on a high. Hopefully we can keep doing the same in 2017.

"It's been great working here. As soon as I signed I hit the ground running, and I just want to keep doing what I've been doing on a personal level and contributing to the team.

Confidence

"It's great when the manager knows you as well as Brendan knows me. Over the past couple of years I've had some tough times, in and out of teams, but when a manager believes in you, you can see the confidence in my game. I couldn't ask for more."

Celtic were run ragged by the hosts during the opening 15 minutes at Ibrox but regrouped after Miller's strike, with their quality quickly shining through.

"I always thought they'd come out all guns blazing and in the first 10 minutes they were right up for it," said Sinclair. "We were as well but they scored the goal and the crowd got behind them. We had to deal with that and make sure we came back.

"It was a great finish from Moussa for the equaliser. We worked on it in the set-pieces and I put it out to the back stick and he did what he does best and scored the goal.

"How long can we go unbeaten? We just go into every game trying to win as many as we can.

"It's game by game. People will always ask how long you can go unbeaten but with our quality and character in the dressing-room I think if we keep showing up on these weekends we can continue.'

"The celebrations at the end were great. I had never played here before and the magnitude of the game was unbelievable. It was great to play here and be part of the win and score the winner too."

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