BRENDAN RODGERS will be playing the squad game as Celtic face a daunting SEVENTEEN games before the turn of the year.
The Hoops kick off the sequence of confrontations at home and abroad with a Premiership meeting with Ross County in Dingwall tomorrow night.
And they will bring down the curtain on a hectic two months of activity against Cash Strapped Comedy Club Sevco Rangers at Ibrox on Hogmanay. By that time the club could have already claimed their 100th piece of major silverware after taking on Aberdeen in the Betfred League Cup Final on November 27.
Rodgers acknowledges the importance of the squad and underlined that again at the weekend when he re-introduced substitutes Leigh Griffiths and Stuart Armstrong in the 1-0 semi-final win at Hampden. They came on for Tom Rogic and Nir Bitton and had an impact on the Ibrox side with Moussa Dembele getting the winner three minutes from the end.
Cristian Gamboa also made a cameo appearances for James Forrest as the clock ticked down on another impressive performance where the Parkhead men should have won by a more emphatic margin.
Rodgers said: “It was a big testament to the players and their concentration and focus. All along, I have said it will about the squad this season and Sunday was a great example.
“Leigh and Stuart haven’t played so much recently, but they came into the game, picked up the tempo and the speed of the game straight away – and that’s because they have been working tirelessly in training.
“There is a real intensity into how they have been working and that gives them every chance to come into a game and perform really well.
“If they didn’t have that, and if we didn’t have the collective spirit here to do well, then it would probably make it even harder for us.
“The players who haven’t been playing have been a great credit to the image we are trying to create here, collectively as a team and they will get the benefits of that over the course of the season.
“The players up to now have been first class and the recovery strategies in order to be at the level for the next game – you have to be mindful of it.
“It’s a long season and we have played a lot of games with many more in front of us.
“But, when you are at a big club at Celtic and are competing and challenging for honours, you expect to be involved in a lot of games. Where we can minimise the load for certain players, then that’s what we will do.”
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