BRENDAN RODGERS admitted he is “learning about the players all the time” after defiant Celtic chiselled out a 3-0 win at Livingston.
For the second successive game, the Hoops failed to complete the encounter with a full complement after Joe Hart was red-carded in the 29th minute.
The experienced keeper was dismissed by referee John Beaton after a clash with burly attack Mo Sangare just outside the penalty area.
It was a similar story four days earlier when Gistaf Lagerbiekle and Odin Holm were sent off in another backs-to-the-wall display against Feyenoord in Rotterdam.
TOUCHLINE TALK-IN…Brendan Rodgers has a quick word of advice for skipper Callum McGregor.
There was no reward in the Champions League opener against the Dutch with the visitors losing 2-0, but there was no stopping Rodgers’ performers against Livi where Reo Hatate (pen), Matt O’Riley and Daizen Maeda fired in the goals to make certain three points were heading back to the east end of Glasgow.
The delighted gaffer said: “I thought we started the game really well. I said to the players beforehand, the energy and attitude in this game is important.
“Especially on the back of a real tough game and when you’re playing a team that’s played in Europe, the mind-set is to start quick and try and test their energy. But our energy was very good and our attitude was first class in the game.
“It was a great move for the penalty, we got in front and were playing well, but obviously Joe’s sending-off changes the dynamic of it. However, I thought from then on the players were absolutely brilliant.
PLEASED AS PUNCH…Brendan Rodgers salutes the Celtic fans at the end of the 3-0 win over Livingston.
“Tactically very good, we obviously have a plan for if we go down to 10 men. The guys’ mentality was superb and we still always looked a threat. It was a very good win for us.”
Rodgers, speaking to Celtic TV, continued: “I thought they worked very, very well today and showed real quality and composure, so I’m pleased.
“We always focus on our performance, but on this occasion, I said to the players actually this is a place where you don’t get too many points for style.
“I said that before the game, but actually the style of our performance was really good on a difficult surface, so it was pleasing – a clean sheet, three points, down to 10 men and Livingston is notoriously a tough place to come to.”
HAIL, HAIL…the Celtic supporters were in fine voice at Livingston.
Rodgers added: “It’s important that you have that resilience because you won’t get everything going your own way and always play perfect football.
“You certainly have to have that to be a good team and I thought that our composure was really good.
“So, I’m learning about the players all the time and I’m delighted for them and particularly for the supporters, they were brilliant for us.
“They really got behind the team and the support away from home was absolutely incredible.”