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‘BE BRILLIANT,’ RODGERS FIRES BHOYS UP

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BRENDAN RODGERS will have his players ready for Hibs this lunchtime.

Last week he had an uncharacteristic wee moan about the timing of this semi-final, believing that the Scottish game should have been more accommodating to the country’s only participant in European football by allowing Celtic to play at Hampden on the Sunday.

With rain expected and the Hampden pitch never that robust at the best of times, it is likely to worse for wear by the time Motherwell and Sevco Rangers kick off tomorrow.

Had Celtic got the Sunday spot, a heavy, cut up pitch would surely have been a leveler that would  have favoured Hibs more than Celtic and it would have given the team a day’s less recovery time before playing a well rested Aberdeen team in the top of the league clash at Pittodrie on Wednesday.

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Today is the day regardless that Celtic go for the 60th undefeated domestic match under Brendan Rodgers, and this run is not something that the boss sees ending anytime soon.

“You foster a certain mentality when you win and, when you continually win, it gives you the confidence to keep on that path,” Brendan observed yesterday.

“After the Champions League games last season they had the mentality to go again and play well. It shows the incredible achievement the players have had but it is not something we overly concentrate on.

“After we had got to the 27th, I spoke to the players about the challenge of not mentally relaxing. That’s not something they do anyway but I said, ‘Let’s now set a standard here that goes beyond where we are at’.

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“For the next team that wants to break it, because eventually it will go, make it as difficult as you possibly can.

“There are physical and psychological challenges but it’s my job to prepare the players, keep them fresh and make sure the message is different.

“We lost the other night to an incredible opponent, there is no shame in that. We will find ways to be better. We want to be better at that level but 15 or 16 months ago our challenge was to get into the Champions League.

“Now there is disappointment to lose away to Bayern Munich. It’s a challenge but that’s the beauty of it. It’s brilliant.”

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