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Monday 23 October 2017

Celtic draw had it all for Bhoys boss

Rodgers sees Hibs clash as 'advert' for game

Callum McGregor celebrates scoring his side's second goal against Hibernian
Callum McGregor celebrates scoring his side's second goal against Hibernian

Boss Brendan Rodgers believes Celtic's thrilling 2-2 draw with Hibernian on Saturday demonstrated the best of Scottish football.

During an exciting, end-to-end 90 minutes both Hibs midfielder John McGinn and Hoops counterpart Callum McGregor scored twice and there was a save of the season contender when Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon denied Steven Whittaker from close range.

The draw extended the Hoops' unbeaten domestic run to 58 games and keeps them top of the Scottish Premiership by goal difference over Aberdeen.

Rodgers is aware that the game in Scotland is often compared unfavourably with the glamour of the Premier League in England but the Northern Irishman insists the enthralling encounter in the east end of Glasgow had it all.

Outstanding

"It was an outstanding advert for the game up here," he said

"Over 60,000 people, great atmosphere, the home team going behind trying to preserve this unbeaten run and winning mentality, and to get back in was great for us.

"So, a great advert for the game up here for sure.

"Hibs played very well. They have got good pace, power and energy, and it was a really tough game for us."

With Celtic duo Scott Brown and Stuart Armstrong out of Scotland's World Cup qualifying double-header against Slovakia and Slovenia through injury, the uncapped McGregor was called up by manager Gordon Strachan yesterday.

He said after the Hibs game: "Listen, all I can do is play well for Celtic, getting goals and assists.

"I've always said that's my priority. If I get the call for Scotland, great."

Hibs manager Neil Lennon admits he is hoping rather than certain that his side will take confidence from the performance and the result.

He said: "God knows what it'll do. We don't play for two weeks and this team can be a bit Jekyll and Hyde.

"Subconsciously, they raise their game for the big games and then when the expectation lifts a bit they can let themselves down, so they've got to take a lot from the game on Saturday and try and transfer that to other games as well.

Concentration

"We could have easily got beat 4-0 but their drive and concentration levels were great. I need that every week.

"We are unbeaten away from home and have made a fantastic start and almost caused a brilliant upset."

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