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‘IT’S AN HONOUR TO SET RECORD,’ RODGERS

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BRENDAN RODGERS was delighted as he watched Celtic hammer Hearts 4-0 to go 27 domestic games unbeaten, eclipsing the run set by Jock Stein’s Lisbon Lions 50 years ago.

The Hoops decimated the Tynecastle outfit with goals from Scott Sinclair (2), Callum McGregor and Patrick Roberts to go 22 points clear at the top of the Premiership.

Rodgers said: “It’s a huge honour when you consider the history of this club, 129 years old. It’s an incredible run the players are on, but every accolade they get they deserve because of the focus and spirit fostered within the team and the quality of the football they produce.

“We’re very proud, but I said to them again, setting the challenge going forward, we just have to keep winning and that comes from our work on a day-to-day basis, our concentration and just making sure we take care of all the background noise that goes on around it.

“We have to focus on our football and our job in the team. The players were magnificent at that.”

Moussa Dembele, Leigh Griffiths, Tom Rogic and Stuart Armstrong were all absent, but the champions still put on an attacking display to beat Hearts and make history in front of a packed Paradise.

The Irishman added: “I think it shows how well the players work together, the different ideas which they can take on board.

“When you think of the goalscorers, predominantly this year it’s Rogic, Dembele, Griffiths and Stuart Armstrong, and none of those four was playing.

“We looked at trying to do something where we played Scott through the middle and the two boys on the side and I just felt after the first 20 minutes it wasn’t quite working for us.

“So, we switched Scott back into his natural position, James Forrest onto the right side and Patrick Roberts, who probably has a wee bit more flexibility in his movement, to come in and play as that central striker. I thought he was outstanding in that role.

“He really linked the game for us, was really bright and clever and it was an outstanding team performance, but, above all of that, our ability to press the game was outstanding.

“We defended forward. We really played the game with high pressure and I can see what Ian Cathro is trying to do with his team, trying to get the fluency and get them opened up.

“But our pressing and our ability to defend forward as a team was very impressive and gave them very few opportunities at all and created lots of chances for us.”

 
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