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Saturday 20 October 2018

Rodgers: We played like champions

Celtic boss hails Bhoys in Dundee win

Celtic’s Jules Olivier Ntcham celebrates scoring his side’s only goal during the Scottish Premiership win over Dundee at Celtic Park. Photo: PA Wire
Celtic’s Jules Olivier Ntcham celebrates scoring his side’s only goal during the Scottish Premiership win over Dundee at Celtic Park. Photo: PA Wire

Brendan Rodgers insists Celtic played like champions despite not being at their best in the 1-0 home win over Dundee on Saturday.

Following the international break and with a view to the Champions League trip to Bayern Munich on Wednesday, Northern Irishman Rodgers rang the changes for the visit of the Taysiders.

Dorus de Vries returned in goal for the first time competitively since featuring against Kilmarnock in September 2016, while Costa Rica right-back Cristian Gamboa made his first appearance of the season and Eboue Kouassi returned from a knee injury sustained against Killie at the start of the campaign.

Extended

Olivier Ntcham's 61st-minute strike extended Celtic's unbeaten domestic run to 59 games and they remain top of the Ladbrokes Premiership over Aberdeen on goal difference, which, all in all, pleased manager Rodgers.

"What champions do is they show that little bit extra," he said. "Okay, we weren't at our fluent best, understandably having not worked together for a period of time.

"Olivier's passing wasn't up to speed but he ends up getting a great goal and the winner.

"So I am delighted with the result, another good three points, another clean sheet for us and we will play better."

De Vries, second choice at Celtic to Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon, was pleased to pull off three fine saves in the closing stages to ensure he kept a clean sheet for the treble winners.

"Last summer there were opportunities for me to leave but I wasn't allowed to leave," De Vries said. "So that just shows the faith the gaffer has in me and my experience.

"To be here at such a special club, you know you've got to be patient. You want to stay involved and create something special here, which we showed last year.

"We still want to create something special this year and to be part of that is something special as well." Dundee boss Neil McCann took encouragement from his side's positive performance.

He said: "I never enjoy defeat and I don't think you can be happy with defeat.

"Generally at Celtic Park you see teams relieve the pressure by clearing it and it comes straight back at you.

"We worked on things and it was a bit risky at times playing from the back but if we are going to be better I have to trust them, that they can go to Celtic Park and do that, and that is the only way that they are going to get better. I was really proud of them."

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