Wednesday 26 June 2019

Rodgers praises players as Weah fires Bhoys six points clear

Celtic 2 St Johnstone 0

Delighted: Brendan Rodgers. Photo: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
Delighted: Brendan Rodgers. Photo: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Jamie Holland

Manager Brendan Rodgers praised Celtic's "persistence and quality" after two late goals at St Johnstone took them back six points clear of Rangers at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

Just when it looked like Saints might just hold out for a draw, winger James Forrest broke the deadlock in the 78th minute before Timothy Weah - on for injured fellow substitute Odsonne Edouard - clinched the win with an 89th-minute finish.

Celtic's James Forrest celebrates with Timothy Weah after scoring the first goal. Photo: Ian Rutherford/PA Wire
Celtic's James Forrest celebrates with Timothy Weah after scoring the first goal. Photo: Ian Rutherford/PA Wire

The game ended on a sour note for the visitors when defender Kristoffer Ajer was then sent off for preventing Saints substitute Callum Hendry from making his way towards goal.

However, that didn't diminish Rodgers' joy as he declared: "It was a good demonstration of our persistence and quality in the game.

"It was a very good performance against a team that are so difficult to play against. We had everything thrown at us today in terms of injuries and whatnot.

"The game went how we thought it would go, similar to last Wednesday night when we had to be patient while playing with the intensity. We had really good tempo in our game.

Celtic's Timothy Weah scores the second goal. Photo: Ian Rutherford/PA Wire
Celtic's Timothy Weah scores the second goal. Photo: Ian Rutherford/PA Wire

"We created chances and kept a clean sheet which is really important."

Rodgers - already without Kieran Tierney, Dedryck Boyata, Leigh Griffiths, Tom Rogic, Olivier Ntcham, Tony Ralston and Filip Benkovic for various reasons - will have to assess what he has at his disposal before Wednesday night's home game against Hibernian.

Right-back Mikael Lustig stayed in at the interval with an Achilles problem, leaving new signing Jeremy Toljan to make his debut.

Edouard, who had replaced Oliver Burke, was taken away on a stretcher after being injured in a challenge from Saints skipper Joe Shaughnessy a yard from goal.

Forrest went off with a tight hamstring, leaving the Hoops with 10 men and Ajer will be suspended for the Hibs game.

Rodgers had no complaints about Ajer's dismissal, saying: "If you watch the replay again, the boy Shaughnessy is stretching and his foot is accidental as Odsonne's gone to hit it.

"These modern boots are not so tough. It's just caught him right on the front of his foot so he's in a wee bit of pain but hopefully he will be OK."

Irish Independent

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