BRENDAN RODGERS singled out Matt O’Riley and Liam Scales for special mention after the hard-fought 1-0 win over Ross County at Parkhead yesterday.
The Danish international midfielder, of course, was caught up in the transfer whirlwind during the week with Spanish giants Atletico Madrid reported to be willing to spend £20million on the Hoops playmaker.
And the Republic of Ireland centre-back once again enhanced his reputation as a solid performer when dogged opponents pushed for a late equaliser.
WATCHING BRIEF…Brendan Rodgers views the action from the touchline.
It wasn’t a day for pretty, eye-catching football, the troublesome wind and dodgy underfoot conditions made certain of that, but three points were imperative and the target was achieved with a scrappy first-minute strike from Alistair Johnston.
Rodgers took time out in the aftermath of the club’s sixth successive victory to say: “For Matt, it was good for him to get through and it shows you his mentality.
“He wanted to play on and as he was moving he was okay, so we’ll recover that over a couple of days and try and ensure he’s okay for next week.”
O’Riley took a knock and it looked as though he would have to be replaced, but the 23-year-old midfielder showed his commitment to the Hoops once again by soldering through the entire 90-plus minutes.
Looking at Scales’ contribution, the Celtic gaffer said: “I thought Liam was outstanding.
“He’s led the line so well since he first got in the team in August. He’s grown and developed and was very good.”
HAPPY DAZE…Alistair Johnston looks delighted – and relieved – after his matchwinner against Ross County.
On the action, Rodgers, speaking to Celtic TV, observed: “It’s one of those games where it’s a good result.
“We made a fantastic start in the game and then when we missed the penalties, it makes the team and the crowd a little bit edgy, but we worked our way back into it again.
“We were clearly the better side and had opportunities, but didn’t quite take them.
“And then, of course, in any game when it’s 1-0, it always leaves you a bit vulnerable towards the end, but we dealt well with that. However, we could have been more comfortable in the game.
“The guys got the job done, it was a good result and we’ll learn and be better in the areas that we need to be.”
Comeback centre-back Cameron Carter-Vickers made his first appearance of 2024 before being replaced by Maik Nawrocki and was also praised by the Irishman.
Rodgers added: “Cam got his 60 minutes and you can see where he hasn’t played for a long time so he needs to get up to speed.
“But it’s great to have him back in there.”