Monday 18 December 2017

Boyata: Bhoys up for a fight

Dedryck Boyata celebrates with Leigh Griffiths after opening the scoring against Aberdeen
Dedryck Boyata celebrates with Leigh Griffiths after opening the scoring against Aberdeen

Celtic defender Dedryck Boyata felt they showed they were up for the fight in their 3-1 win over Aberdeen.

The Scottish Premiership champions streaked into a three-goal lead inside 11 minutes but had to withstand some spells of pressure after Dubliner Jonny Hayes pulled one back moments later.

The game had long looked like the biggest threat to Celtic's bid to go through the league season unbeaten and their triumph, which took them to 100 points, also set them up well for the Scottish Cup final against the same opponents on May 27.

Boyata, who headed the opener, said: "It was a hard game. We didn't really play our style of game but we knew it would be hard and we came for the fight. It was a fighting game and we showed we can do that too.

"The first thing for us was to win all our challenges and it stayed 3-1 so that was good."

Manager Brendan Rodgers was proud of the way his players stood up to the challenge.

Rodgers said: "We had to show that we can defend. Aberdeen play very direct. The ball comes in from all angles, from the side, from behind. There is no real sequence of passing, it's just get it forward. So we had to stand up to that.

"The centre-halves, the defenders were brilliant, the midfield players getting around the second balls.

"It wasn't a pretty game but they had to show they could defend. In the second half there were a couple of moments on the counter-attack where if we made the last pass a little bit better we could have scored.

"But to come away from here 3-1 and defend like we did and show another side of our game, I am very, very proud of the team."

Celtic have only two games left in the league, away to Partick Thistle on Thursday and then a home clash against Hearts next Sunday, as they seek to remain unbeaten domestically.

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