Brendan Rodgers has hailed the swift turnaround in Dedryck Boyata’s Celtic career after the defender scored the second winner in only his fifth game of the season.
The Belgian put Celtic 1-0 up against Aberdeen ten minutes into the second half at Parkhead and that proved to be good enough for the league leaders, who extended the gap at the top to 25 points over rivals Rangers.
It’s been a difficult season for Boyata on the whole. The 26-year-old has been largely consigned to sitting on the bench or in the stands, having taken a while to get over an injury sustained at the tail end of the previous campaign.
He made only one appearance prior to the new year, but has started the last four games for the champions, including scoring the winning goal in league victories over Aberdeen and St Johnstone.
Rodgers said of Boyata’s performance: “Outstanding again, and he deserves all the credit because it has been a difficult period for him since he first came in from Manchester City with expectations.
“But he has really worked hard over the last three months since he came back fit and he has just had to stay patient.
“A wonderful guy, he understands exactly what I am looking for from a centre-half: first and foremost to defend. He is aggressive, wins his duels in the air and he is comfortable on the ball. The message is just play simple.
“And then in the box he is a huge threat - he looks like he will score every time he is in the box. It was a good header and he defended well when he had to.
“He got good applause at the end from supporters and deservedly man of the match.”