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Wednesday 17 January 2018

Rodgers playing down pressure as Hoops eye record

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers. Pic: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers. Pic: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Brendan Rodgers will not load pressure on his Celtic side ahead of their potentially record-equalling game against Kilmarnock today.  The Scottish Premiership leaders are looking to extend their unbeaten domestic run to 62 games at Parkhead. 

That British record dates back to Willie Maley's Celtic side of 1917 but boss Rodgers whose side are fresh from a 3-0 dismantling of title rivals Aberdeen on Wednesday night, is keen

to play it down. "I don't need to build any anticipation into the game because of the record or put any expectancy on the players because of it," he said.  "If it happens it is nice but our focus is very much on how we play.  "We want to play well like the other night and hopefully they then get the results that they have been getting. 

"But in terms of the record itself, we don't think too much about it. It can't come into our thinking before the game.  "You start to add these things into the performance, it can add different pressures which you don't need.  "When you play for Celtic there is an anticipation and expectancy in every game you play. So you don't need to load it up with anything more."  Standing in his way is old friend Steve Clarke, who took over from Lee McCulloch at Rugby Park last week.  Rodgers revealed the former Chelsea and Scotland defender influenced his career and reckons his recruitment by the Ayrshire club is "very much" a coup. 

The Northern Irishman said: "Stevie was the youth coach at Chelsea, and when Jose Mourinho moved him up to the first team they were looking for someone to bring in to do that role.  "They were looking for a specific type of coach to come in and I was one of the ones nominated and thankfully I was given the job. I had a great relationship with him.  "Good guy, real knowledge of football. Kilmarnock couldn't have brought anyone better in than Steve."  Rodgers expects 18-year-old defender Anthony Ralston to be out for up to six weeks as he sorts out a knee problem.

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