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Wednesday 26 April 2017

Forrest happy to win ugly

Celtic star James Forrest in action against Motherwell at the weekend.
Celtic star James Forrest in action against Motherwell at the weekend.

James Forrest was happy for Celtic to demonstrate a less exciting side to their game in their 2-0 win over Motherwell at Parkhead on Saturday.

Striker Moussa Dembele opened the scoring from the spot in the 34th minute to take his tally for the season to 27 before Forrest rifled in a drive which had the points effectively safe by the interval.

In terms of performance, however, it was a far cry from the high-tempo, incisive and punishing football Brendan Rodgers' side have been playing for most of the season, exemplified in last week's 6-0 thrashing of Inverness in the Scottish Cup fifth-round tie at Celtic Park.

But Forrest, who now has seven goals this season, was pleased that Celtic showed they can still get the job done.

"We spoke before the game about trying to get a few shots in in the first 20 minutes but that didn't happen," said the Scotland international.

"We took our time but once we got the first goal we felt more confident.

"A few times this season when we haven't been at our best we've still managed to keep a clean sheet and win the game. That's a good sign. This is as good as winning 6-0 last week as it shows you can do both sides of the game.

"I'm delighted to get another goal, the three points, a clean sheet and another good performance. So we're buzzing and delighted all round."

Rodgers complained afterwards about the state of the Parkhead pitch and revealed he would be looking for a new one to be laid in the summer.

"The gaffer has said not to make excuses but I think the boys have coped well with it," said Forrest.

"In the last couple of games at home we've scored some good goals and kept some clean sheets as well.

"I think everyone to a certain extent has been affected by it but once the game is going you don't think about it.

Conditions

"You just get on with it and play the conditions."

The runaway Ladbrokes Premiership leaders extended their unbeaten domestic run since the start of the season to 31 games with what was their 20th successive league victory.

Motherwell boss Mark McGhee believes that if anyone is to beat Celtic before the end of the season, it will probably be Aberdeen.

The former Dons and Celtic striker, who was sent to the stand after rowing with the fourth official during the 7-2 thrashing at Pittodrie on Wednesday night, said: "Celtic could go unbeaten for the rest of the season.

"But if Aberdeen can play as well as they did against us on Wednesday night against them, they'll give them a hell of a game.

"What has not been said enough about that game the other night was how Aberdeen were, they were brilliant. It was as well as I have seen them play for a long, long time."

Rangers caretaker boss Graeme Murty refused to use the Ibrox turmoil as an excuse after his timid team lost to Dundee.

The Under-20s coach was in charge again as Rangers took on Paul Hartley's side following Mark Warburton's exit.

But the Light Blues were out-fought and out-run during a worrying opening 45 minutes at Dens Park that saw the hosts strike twice.

Mark O'Hara slotted Dundee ahead after 13 minutes before Kevin Holt added a second with a free-kick just before the break.

Spare

Joe Garner did pull one back for Rangers after 62 minutes but it was not enough to spare his team their first league defeat at Dundee since August 1992.

And Murty was in no mood to blame the change of management for the 2-1 loss as he savaged his players' first-half display.

He said: "The [managerial] disruption has got nothing to do with players showing the right attitude and commitment."

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