Brendan Rodgers praises 'father' of Celtic success but admits Scotland implications never entered his mind

What the Celtic manager said after the 2-1 win over Dundee at Dens Park
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers celebrates at full time after the 2-1 win over Dundee. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers celebrates at full time after the 2-1 win over Dundee. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers celebrates at full time after the 2-1 win over Dundee. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

Brendan Rodgers has challenged Celtic to keep on climbing even after a win over Dundee that maintained their place at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

They did not have it all their own way at Dens Park, where they have not lost since 1988. But a well-executed James Forrest double earned the visitors all three points. The hosts pulled one back with 16 minutes left after defender Antonio Portales’ effort was deflected into his own net by Celtic substitute Adam Idah.

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Celtic are still sitting three points clear of Rangers at the top, with their rivals having won 2-1 against St Mirren earlier in the afternoon. However, Rodgers stressed that it’s no time to stop striving for more, with a home game against Hearts next. The manager knows number of goals scored could feature in the final equation.

“We keep climbing," he said. "We want to achieve more, score as many goals as we can and be as strong as we can defensively and now I am really excited about next week against Hearts at Celtic Park.

"60,000, the atmosphere will be amazing, the pitch will be amazing and hopefully we can play a level of football and get another really good result.”

Rodgers was firm when asked if the trip to Dundee had been cause for any trepidation following recent controversies relating to the Dens Park surface as well as the points dropped by Rangers on their visit earlier this month.

“Not at all,” he said. “Three games with an aggregate of 13 goals (against Dundee), and conceded one. So I felt fine coming to here. I felt that if we were aggressive and took the ball like we had in those other games then we could have a good day.

"The pitch made it really difficult to play with that fluency but we still had to get the job done.

“Dundee have had a fantastic season," he added. "I am so pleased for Tony (Docherty) he is a good man and a super coach and he has managed this group really well. Collectively they have made it very difficult and you can see the results they have had and that is why they are where they are.

“At this stage of the season if you want to win and have that trophy head on then you have to win. You have to perform and the players did that.”

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He praised match winner Forrest, who has forced his way back into the manager’s plans at the business end of the season. Rodgers stressed he had not considered what the ramifications could be in terms of Scotland, who are short of wide players.

“I hadn’t thought about Scotland, to be honest,” the manager said. "I certainly know when I was here the first time James was a key player, scoring goals. My only interest is in Celtic, we have four matches to go and a cup final. If he keeps producing that quality of performance it will be a big help to us.”

“James is just a brilliant player,” he added. “He’s one of the remaining fathers of the success this club has had over the last decade or so. There are very few of them left, but he’s definitely one of them. His creativeness, mentality and quality over the last decade has been so important. I’m so pleased for him.

“His first finish is sublime - what technique. His second one, he’s made it look easier than it actually was. He may not quite have the legs he had years back but the quality doesn’t diminish. He was our match-winner today and I’m so happy for him.”



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