TOM ROGIC is looking forward with some confidence to Celtic final journey out of Glasgow this season tomorrow night when the Champions head up to the North East to play Aberdeen. It will be the fifth of six meetings between the sides this season and Celtic have won all 4 so far including of course the Betfred Cup back in November.
For the 24-year-old Aussie, he’ll be pleased to be back in contention for a starting spot after missing the last game between the sides at Celtic Park through injury. Aberdeen must have been somewhat relied that night by his absence as Rogic had scored in all three matches between the sides, including the only goal of the match on the Champions’ earlier visit to Pittodrie.
It’s fair then to suppose that Derek McInnes will regard Rogic as something of a thorn in his Aberdeen side and will look to mark him as tightly as possible.
That though is easier said than done. Rogic roared out of the traps at the weekend, glad to be starting again, and St Johnstone must have wondered at half time how they had managed to stop him from scoring. Understandably the Australian international tired somewhat in the later stages of the game but only after the points were secure.
Securing Rogic on a new long term deal was a high priority for Rodgers at the start of the season. He said to the player, “I know what you can do, what you are capable of achieving in the game.”
Any doubts that Rogic may have had about extending his stay in Glasgow were gone. He knew he wanted to play for Rodgers.
“The manager has changed the way the club is as a whole,’ he revealed. ” We have a lot of players working hard, together, for the one cause. It is not about individuals and I think that is a big reason why we have been so successful.
“If you look at the way we are playing this season, players who aren’t playing are working hard and come into the team when maybe they haven’t been playing so much, and it has been an easy transition.
“Players like Dedryck Boyata, who wasn’t involved so much in one part of the season, can still come in and play a massive part and contribute to the club’s success.
Of course it was Boyata who turned goalscorer against the Dons when the Aussie wasn’t playing due to the injury to his ankle he picked up after a late tackle be Darren O’Dea for Dundee.
“We have a real belief among the squad,” Rogic continued. “It is not about the individual it is about the group and how successful we can be together as one.
“We prepare the same for every game, whether it be Champions League or cup games, it doesn’t really differ how we prepare.
“It is always the same level, the same intensity, Brendan always demanding more from the players and that is the sort of competitive environment you want to be in and where you learn and develop as a player.
“It has been very enjoyable to be part of.”
And talking of that goalscoring record he enjoys against Aberdeen was as modest as you would expect.
“I have scored but it doesn’t really count for much going into the game and obviously into the cup final.
“It is just one of those things. It is in the past and we look forward.
“It is nice to know you can do it but it is a new game tomorrow night and we will see what happens.”