Teams are 'terrified' going to Celtic

Frank McAvennie. Photo credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Ronnie Esplin

Former Celtic striker Frank McAvennie believes Brendan Rodgers has made teams "terrified" of going to Parkhead.

The Hoops' 4-0 away win at Inverness on Wednesday night took the visitors 27 points clear of Aberdeen at the top of the Premiership.

Since manager Rodgers took over from Ronny Deila in the summer, Celtic have gone 33 domestic games unbeaten. The last of only four goals conceded at Parkhead in 14 league games was against Dundee on December 17.

The champions-elect will look to take the next step towards a possible treble against another of McAvennie's former clubs, St Mirren, in their William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final at Celtic Park on Sunday.

McAvennie, who won the league and Scottish Cup double with Celtic in 1988, in the first of two spells at the club, insists Rodgers has shown the difference a manager can make.

He said: "When I played for Celtic, teams were a bit wary of coming to Celtic Park and now they are terrified.

"Only last year teams were coming and having a go at Celtic, which is great for the fans but I had never seen Celtic get beat so much.

"But now normal service has been resumed and so much credit goes to Brendan.

"If you want a template for managers just look at Brendan.

"He has come in and changed everything, the attitude of the players, the attitude of the club. Everyone is laughing and smiling now and it is all good.

"And if Stuart Armstrong doesn't get put in the Scotland squad again for the (World Cup qualifying) match against Slovenia later this month, then there is something far wrong.

"It is a must-win and he has got the confidence. I am a great believer in playing players with confidence.

"And hopefully James Forrest can get back from injury.

"I thought those two players were going nowhere and all of a sudden they are world beaters and you look at the confidence, it is flowing through them and that is down to one thing and that is the manager."

Bottom club St Mirren beat Championship leaders Hibernian 2-0 in Paisley on Wednesday night to give them some encouragement for the trip to Celtic Park.

"That was a great result for St Mirren," said McAvennie.

"They have nothing to lose. No one expects them to give Celtic a game so they will go there and play under no pressure.

"That is where St Mirren want to be, back playing at places like Celtic Park. So it is a good step for them."