Thursday 13 December 2018

Rodgers slams St Johnstone players

Celtic 0 St Johnstone 0

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers claims St Johnstone players should be asked questions after ending a poor run of form with their second draw of the season at Parkhead.

Tommy Wright's side drew 1-1 at Celtic Park in August but had won only one of their previous eight games since beating Rangers at Ibrox in December - against Albion Rovers in the William Hill Scottish Cup - before they arrived in Glasgow to hold out for a goalless draw against a much-changed Hoops side.

Asked what problems the Perth club pose Celtic, the Northern Irishman, who described the result as "fair", said: "I think there is questions there for Tommy's players.

"Tommy's a fantastic manager but I am sure he walks away happy with a point but probably really frustrated.

"How can you win a game 3-1 at Ibrox in December 16, not win a game right the way through, apart from the Albion game then your next big result is away at Celtic?

"So I think the question goes with the St Johnstone players. Today you've seen them organised, committed, fighting, running - doing all of that.

"If they do that in every game they would probably win a lot more games."

Rodgers had no regrets about making seven changes to the side which started in the 1-0 win over Zenit St Petersburg on Thursday night.

Hoops fans were boosted by the return of midfielder Tom Rogic for the first time since December 5 following his recovery from a knee injury with Cristian Gamboa, Jack Hendry, Calvin Miller, Charly Musonda, Odsonne Edouard and Scott Sinclair also back in.

"You have to be careful, we have so many games," said Rodgers, who now turns his attention to the second leg of their Europa League last 32 clash with the Russian side on Thursday night. Scott Brown was suspended, Mikael Lustig had a niggle on his Achilles and we couldn't risk that and Olivier Ntcham was ill so he couldn't play.

"Olivier should be fine, Browny will be available and Mikael should be fine, it was precautionary. They will be fine for Thursday.

BALL BHOY: Celtic’s Charly Musonda and St Johnstone’s Murray Davidson battle for the ball Celtic Park yesterday
BALL BHOY: Celtic’s Charly Musonda and St Johnstone’s Murray Davidson battle for the ball Celtic Park yesterday

"There was a lots of positives for us today in terms of players, it was Tom Rogic's first game in two months, we have to take opportunities at some point to play some of these guys, like Cristian Gamboa and Calvin Miller.

"Even if we had a full strength side it would have still been difficult."

Wright, whose side finished the day one point behind eighth-placed Dundee, said: "We have had performances like that at other stadiums but not often enough.

"We are still unbeaten after playing them twice here and that performance should give the confidence to kick on for the rest of the season. We will not focus too much on the top six. We are looking to string some results together."

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