Celtic players' take on criticism, Clement reacts to Koppen arrival, plastic pitch 'ban', Hibs and Aberdeen positives - Scottish football wrap

McGregor says rant from Rodgers was fully merited as Hibs striker finally ends drought

We take you through some of the main headlines this Monday morning after a busy weekend of football action:

McGregor: Celtic ‘deserved’ Rodgers’ half-time criticism

Celtic captain Callum McGregor admits his manager’s half-time critique will continue to sting despite their 3-1 comeback win against St Johnstone. Brendan Rodgers labelled his side’s first-half performance at McDiarmid Park “soft” and claimed it left him angrier than he had ever been as a manager with his side trailing to Diallang Jaiyesimi’s scrambled goal from a corner. McGregor said: “That’s the one thing when you’re a good football team and people try to look for areas to exploit then the last thing as a professional footballer you want to be called is soft. That hurts the group. We can’t have too many moments like that because you’ll see teams will try to play on it. We’ve got to be better and stronger in those moments especially when we are defending the box. As a professional you never want to be called soft. That will sit with the players in three, four, five days’ time because nobody likes to get a sore one off the manager. We have to take it on the chin and we deserved it. But we don’t want to be doom and gloom. We rectified it and when you’re a team that sets high standards and drop below it then it’s the manager’s job to tell you then the players job to fix it.”

Celtic's Oh Hyeon-gyu and Kyogo Furuhashi at full time following Celtic's 3-1 win at St Johnstone.Celtic's Oh Hyeon-gyu and Kyogo Furuhashi at full time following Celtic's 3-1 win at St Johnstone.
Celtic's Oh Hyeon-gyu and Kyogo Furuhashi at full time following Celtic's 3-1 win at St Johnstone.

McGregor excited at chance to open Euro 2024 against hosts Germany

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Meanwhie, McGregor is relishing the prospect of opening Euro 2024 against the hosts. Steve Clarke’s side will kick off the tournament on June 14 against Germany at the Allianz Arena in Munich. Scotland will also take on Hungary and Switzerland in Group A following Saturday’s draw in Hamburg. McGregor said: “It was great watching the draw. We have three really good teams and it’s a strong group. When you get to a tournament that’s what you want to do, you want to be against the best teams and that’s what we’ll do in the opening game against Germany. It doesn’t come much bigger than that as an occasion and everyone is looking forward to it.”

Clement has say on Koppen arrival

Rangers manager Philippe Clement has welcomed the appointment of Belgian compatriot Nils Koppen as the club’s director of football recruitment. Koppen comes in from PSV and knows Clement from their time together at Genk. Speaking on his arrival, Clement said: “There was a vacancy and we've been looking for that in the last weeks and months. We've been sitting together about those things, we were involved in that also to speak with the different candidates together with other people in the club and Nils was obviously the one that came out as best.”

Dylan Vente scored the opener for Hibs against Aberdeen.Dylan Vente scored the opener for Hibs against Aberdeen.
Dylan Vente scored the opener for Hibs against Aberdeen.

Plastic pitches could be banned

There are reports this morning that artificial pitches could be banned in the Scottish Premiership as early as next season. The Daily Record claims that SPFL chief Neil Doncaster is heading up talks to outlaw the synthetic surfaces. In the top flight, Kilmarnock and Livingston both have plastic pitches, although Killie plan to scrap theirs by 2026.

Monty pleased for Vente to break duck

Hibs manager Nick Montgomery expressed his delight at seeing Dylan Vente end a nine-game scoring drought by netting the opening goal in a 2-0 win over Aberdeen. “I said to Dylan last week, I was unaware it had been nine games since he’d scored a goal because he works so hard for the team,” said Montgomery. “He created lots of assists but I think he deserved that today and breaks a little bit of a cycle and now he’s not go that on his mind because we know he can score, know he can assist and I thought he worked really hard today.”

Robson convinced wins will come

Aberdeen manager Barry Robson is not panicking despite his team sitting tenth in Premiership and feels their performances will show that wins will come. The Dons dominated spells of their 2-0 defeat by Hibs, missing a penalty as well, and Robson said ahead of Wednesday’s match against Kilmarnock: “We were all here today and all saw it. We all saw that we are by far the better team in the game. Everybody knows that but Hibs come away with the points. That is the important thing coming away with the points. We can sit here and talk about all the chances, missing penalties and goals to sucker punches but that is it. “Football is about winning matches and we need to win some matches. If we perform like that we will win matches.”

Robinson: I’m not sure what people expect

Stephen Robinson vowed he wouldn’t criticise his St Mirren players despite them falling to their third defeat in their last four games. Saints defended stoically for large spells at Ibrox before being unpicked by two Abdallah Sima goals. But Robinson was reluctant to criticise his players who remain in fourth place in the table. He said: “I'm not sure what people expect when you look at the resources. We had a loss of £1.6 million when I arrived and now we're sitting fourth with no debt. The only people that deserve credit for that are the players. They are the ones that have turned it round, they have made the crowds come back and they are the ones selling merchandise. They are putting performances in on the pitch so they won't get any criticism from me. They are brilliant, brilliant boys with 100 percent commitment and enthusiasm. They play for the badge every single week and I've got nothing but praise for this group of players.”