BEAMING Brendan Rodgers was delighted at his players’ attitude as they overwhelmed Hibs 4-1 at Parkhead last night.
A double from Oh Hyeon-gyu and additions from Matt O’Riley, with a slick header, and Luis Palma, with a powerful penalty-kick, helped the title kings maintain their eight-point advantage at the Premiership pinnacle.
Rodgers admitted to being “probably the angriest” he had ever been with his side’s slow-motion first-half performance against St Johnstone in Perth at the weekend before they responded to a brutal wake-up call at half-time and went on to win 3-1.
However, there was a massive switch in the gaffer’s attitude after the show against the Edinburgh club who were swept aside in the east end of Glasgow.
Rodgers said: “I was very pleased. Hibs are a team that, if you’re not organised and you’re not together, then they can hurt you because they play some nice football, but our pressing was good and we scored some really good goals.
“The attitude was excellent and it was a really good win for us.
“We make the changes because we trust the players to come in and I thought Oh, in particular, was excellent up front.
“He was a good reference point for the team and I’m delighted with him.
“He’s definitely playing with that confidence.”
Analysing the eager striker’s second goal which was set up by a laserbeam through ball from Callum McGregor, the Hoops gaffer, speaking to Celtic TV, observed:” I think the key was the pass forward from Cal.
“It’s penetrating, it’s getting in behind and he shows his strength, comes inside and it’s a really good finish.
“He’s training really well and when he’s playing he’s been very effective.”
THAT’S MY BHOY…Brendan Rodgers congratulates skipper Callum McGregor.
McGregor was allowed more freedom to express his qualities with the dependable Timoki Iwata taking over the anchorman role and making a superb job of it throughout the encounter as he patrolled the crucial areas.
Speaking about the strengths of his captain, Rogers continued: “He’s a top-class player and wherever I’ve played him in both periods here, he’s always exceptional.
“He knows the game inside-out, so when he’s playing in that higher role, he knows the runs, he can control the game and he had a couple of efforts on goal.
“I thought Tomoki did really well in there, as well, and Matt O’Riley was absolutely outstanding.
“He’s so graceful getting around the pitch, his work-rate and also his quality – it was superb this evening.”
The Hoops now return to the scene of Rodgers’ only Cup defeat as Celtic manager when they play Kilmarnock at Rugby Park in the noon kick-off on Sunday.
The holders of the League Cup saw their grasp loosened during a slipshod display in a 1-0 loss in August in only the third game of the Irishman’s second stint in charge at Parkhead.
Lessons were learned that afternoon which are unlikely to be repeated as the champions continue their quest for their twelfth title in 13 years.