‘No luck’ in Celtic winning with 10 men says Brendan Rodgers

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers trains with his first team squad ahead of their match against Motherwell. Picture: SNS.
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers trains with his first team squad ahead of their match against Motherwell. Picture: SNS.
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Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has taken issue with the claims made by former Blackpool and Clyde manager Barry Ferguson that the champions were fortunate to have emerged from Ibrox with a 3-2 victory over closest challengers Rangers, even though they played for more than a third of the match with ten men following the dismissal of Jozo Simunovic.

Ferguson also suggested that Graeme Murty’s men had been the superior team “by far” until Celtic were numerically disadvantaged which, he claimed, worked in their favour while complaining that all three Celtic goals were avoidable.

Rodgers, unsurprisingly, was having none of it.

“In any game of football there is always an element of luck,” said the Irishman. “However, I would think even Rangers supporters wouldn’t say that, not if you look at how we played and what we had to go through in the game.

“That’s the third time in the 20 months I have been up here when we’ve gone down to ten men. They were all away; at Pittodrie, Hamilton and Ibrox. In those matches, over the course of the time we were down to ten men, it has been 94 minutes; so virtually a game and injury time.

“In those games, we scored four goals and conceded none. I don’t think that’s luck. Last Sunday was a great game. We had to show fighting qualities and we were up against it through our own mistakes. If you look at their two goals, the first one was a mistake from us, and the second wasn’t the best defending when a cross comes in but then, really, there was nothing.

“All they had was the Alfredo Morelos opportunity, which he should’ve scored with.

“Barry Ferguson is someone I don’t know. I’ve never met him so I can’t comment on him [although] I had great respect for him as a player. He clearly is very much Rangers, which I respect, and our win can hurt very much. But I think most supporters of both teams would admire our team and how we won. The victory was sweet because of many elements of the win. Our preparation and tactics for the game, the adversity the players went through makes these types of wins even better.

“It was a great atmosphere, real hostility, and so to come through that and show solidarity and quality to win the game was so satisfying.”

Goalkeeper Scott Bain, a loan signing from Hibernian via Dundee, made his debut in place of the injured Dorus de Vries at Ibrox and looks to have played his way into Rodgers’ plans for next season.

The 26-year-old is expected to retain the jersey at Motherwell tomorrow, even though the Dutchman is likely to have recovered from the ankle problem which ruled him out last weekend.

“In this last week we gained a keeper,” said Rodgers. “Scott was absolutely brilliant in every way at Ibrox. That’s as good a debut as you’ll get. I’ve always liked Scott from his time at Dundee and he fits the profile of how we play.

“I’m thrilled for him because of the journey he’s been on. He’s hungry and that’s what you want. He’s played 200-odd games, had to go part-time and work at something else in order to be a footballer but now he has his moment and doesn’t want to let it go past him.

“He might be [only] 6ft tall but that confidence makes him grow. I’m just delighted with his performance and from now until the end of the season we’ll have a wee look but he’s clearly put himself in a great position.”