BRENDAN RODGERS will demand a fast show from Celtic right from the kick-off against Hibs at Parkhead on Wednesday.
The Hoops gaffer was left fuming with the slow-motion first-half performance against St Johnstone in Perth yesterday that handed a goal advantage to the hosts after a dreadful 45 minutes.
Rodgers gave his dozy players a wake-up call at the interval and skipper Callum McGregor fired in a 67th-minute equaliser before Matt O’Riley unleashed a long-range howitzer that left keeper Dimitar Mitov clawing fresh air.
HEAD’S UP…Brendan Rodgers is looking for a fast start against Hibs.
James Forrest made absolutely certain with a third strike in stoppage-time to seal three points and a more acceptable second-half display from the visitors.
The Edinburgh club kept out Kyogo and Co in the scoreless stalemate at Easter Road earlier in the campaign, but Rodgers is determined to make sure their barrier will come under siege right from the off in this encounter.
The Irishman said: “It was a good football game the last time we played and I said after the match that I was complimentary of what Nick is trying to do. I’m expecting a good football game.
“The onus is on ourselves at home and we don’t want to waste any time in the game like we did in the first-half on Sunday and like we did for 60 minutes at Hibs. We expect to be intent right from kick-off.
“They want to build the game from behind. There’s no right or wrong way to play the game, but I always admire teams that are coached to play.
“You can see what Nick is doing by wanting them to play through the pitch and be creative and they have some very good players.”
THE THINKER…Brendan Rodgers is plotting a barrier-breaking win against the Easter Road club. Images courtesy Celtic TV.
Rodgers is not anticipating any changes to his match day squad, but there was positive news on crocked double-act Liel Abada and Daizen Maeda.
The flankers are expected to be back in action this month, but the manager will not be taking any risks with midfielder Reo Hatate.
Rodgers, speaking to Celtic TV, continued: “Liel and Daizen are both on the pitch now which is great news for us.
“They are back on the field with the medical team and, hopefully, it won’t be too long before they are back in the squad again.
“Daizen is probably a little bit ahead of Liel, but I’m expecting at some point this month they will be available
“Sometimes competition is the best coach you can have in the game and that’s something you always want.
“They have been important players for Celtic and for me so that competition is important.”
The Celtic gaffer added: “Reo is starting to move. We allowed him to go back to Japan to get some work there and he’s worked very hard.
“He returns later on in the week which will be great and we will assess him when he’s back.”