BRENDAN RODGERS praised the Celtic Fast Show as the champions upped the pace in a blistering second-half to blow Dundee away at Parkhead.

The visitors had been stubborn and resilient in the opening 45 minutes, but they had no answer to the relentless probing from the Hoops as David Turnbull broke the deadlock with a penalty-kick shortly after the interval.

Kyogo Furuhashi doubled the advantage with a supremely-timed header following an exquisite cross from Callum McGregor and Matt O’Riley put the finishing touches to an accomplished personal performance with a neat sidefooted third.

On top of that, Alistair Johnston was denied his first goal at Parkhead with two efforts that struck the crossbar and upright while keeper Trevor Carson made a couple of good stops.

A BIG HAND…Brendan Rodgers shows appreciation for his Celtic players.

The Dens Park No.1 had also been bailed out by his woodwork in the first-half when a shot from O’Riley took a deflection and clattered off his left-hand post.

Plus Daizen Maeda was adjudged just offside after he had lashed in an angled low drive for what he believed was the breakthrough goal in the opening half. The standside linesman and VAR disagreed and the effort was ruled out.

It was no surprise Rodgers was beaming at the final whistle as he said: “I was very pleased, especially on the back of an international break with the players being away and some only returning yesterday.

“I thought the team did very well. In the first-half, we created some opportunities and we were unfortunate not to go in front.

“Dundee, give credit to them, they were very organised and made it very difficult.

“We kept persevering and congratulations to the crowd because it seems a simple thing, but at 0-0 at half-time the feeling could be edgy, but they saw what the players were trying to do.

“In games like this, it can be the last 20 minutes that wins you the game. In the second-half, we increased the tempo and got the goals we wanted and it was very good with a pleasing clean sheet.

GREEN FOR GO…Brendan Rodgers and happy Celtic fans in Paradise.

“It is patience and time because we want to play with tempo, but you have to give credit to Dundee who worked very hard and the keeper made good saves.

“We were persistent and in the second-half we upped the tempo a little bit and our quality came through.”

Three Celtic debutants took their bow in Paradise with on-loan Liverpool central defender Nat Phillips starting the game before being replaced by Gustaf Lagerbiekle at the interval and Honduran winger Luis Palma and midfielder Paolo Bernardo, who has signed a season-long switch from Benfica, coming on the second-half.

As Rodgers looked ahead to the Champions League kick-off against Feyenoord in Rotterdam on Tuesday night, the boss admitted he was delighted to see so many of his players get crucial game-time.

The Irishman, speaking to Celtic TV, continued: “I think that’s the important thing for the team, it’s a collective effort.

“They all worked hard and after the penalty, we had great composure.

“The second goal is a fantastic ball by Callum – and Kyogo is lethal in front of goal.

“The third goal is really pleasing because we double up on the pressing and then it eventually gets to Matt who scores it well. Overall, it was a very good professional performance.”

Rodgers also welcomed back Reo Hatate from injury as a second-half substitute and added: “He is an outstanding player and brings us a dynamic in the team that the other midfielders don’t have.

“We gave him 30 minutes to see how he recovers from that and we can see for Tuesday. Once he gets in flow he’s a very good player for us.”


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