Brendan Rodgers did more damage to himself at Ibrox yesterday than the home side could inflict on his Celtic side, the Irishman revealing he had injured himself celebrating the winner in the 2-1 derby success over Rangers.
“It was stupid,” he said of the moment that followed Scott Sinclair’s 70th minute clincher, a strike that capped a comeback after Rangers striker Kenny Miller had struck a 13th-minute opener cancelled out in the 33rd minute by Moussa Dembele. “When the second goal went in I tried to make a wee sprint and just slipped, and pulled my calf. It was daft but I couldn’t walk afterwards. But I’m OK.”
Rodgers will go into the three-week winter shutdown having yet to taste defeat in the 24 domestic encounters his team have played – 23 of these victories, with Celtic now boasting 15 Premiership wins on the spin. His first six months in Scotland have been so profitable he did not even wait until full-time to congratulate his players for their efforts under him.
“I thanked them before the game on behalf of myself as manager and on behalf of the supporters for playing how they have been playing for a magnificent club and how they have got themselves on a real exciting path going forward.
“I said to them about getting to the Champions League, winning the League Cup, showing an incredible resilience that we have tried to foster, so that you are never beaten, you go right to the end. That was irrespective of what the result was today. It has been a huge achievement for them, especially this month’s nine games which everyone talked about.
“To have won eight of those and drawn away at Manchester City in the Champions League, I think everyone would commend them for what a great effort it has been. So now we go away to rest for a week and then we come back together and will work very hard for a couple of weeks in making things better and I hope in the second half of the season we will be even stronger.
“It was a brilliant result for us. It was a really great advert for Scottish football, I felt. Both sets of players did very, very well considering the conditions. It was very blustery with a lot of rain. But I thought we thoroughly deserved to win.
“In the first half we didn’t start well but were always a threat on the counter attack, trying to exploit space. We just needed to adjust one or two things at half-time and in the second half we were brilliant. We looked a real threat and every time we went forward I felt we could score. We created opportunities and I’m disappointed we only got two goals.
“But probably the most pleasing thing of all was something we talked about before the game, and that was how we’d react if we went behind in the game. We spoke about dealing with pressure and finding solutions for that. But we stayed very calm and once we got our first goal we played our way back into the game. So it was an outstanding performance second half and a really good result for us.”