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RECORD-BREAKER RODGERS PRAISES HIS PLAYERS

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BRENDAN RODGERS took his place in the Celtic history books last night – and insisted his players deserve all the praise.

The 1-0 victory over Hamilton Accies made it 19 successive games without defeat in domestic competition – overtaking the previous Parkhead record set by Martin O’Neill for a manager in his first season.

Leigh Griffiths scored his 11th goal of the campaign making it 11 straight Premiership wins for the champions. The Hoops are now 11 points clear with two games in hand.

Rodgers welcomed the managerial record, but admitted: “It doesn’t hold any weight at this point. It is a good win and it is very nice.

“It is a great mark of the players’ concentration and how relentless they have been, their drive to keep going.

“The point I make to them is that, when you are winning, have the attitude that you are losing. And keep working.

“If you are going to succeed you need to have drive, desire and hunger. And we have shown that in bucketloads.

“Throughout most of this season, we’ve played at a very high level. In some games we haven’t and this was one of those games where we didn’t hit the heights – which is sometimes understandable with the number of games we are playing.

“But we showed great desire and persistence to keep going. Hamilton were very well organised. They’ve lost a lot of goals here in the past, so they were never really going to open up.

“Martin Canning organised his team very well with a back five, midfield diamond and one up front. They have young players with good energy, so we had to be really patient.”

Rodgers kicked off with Griffiths and Moussa Dembele as a strike partnership and the French Under-21 international set up the winner for the Scot.

Admitting his team were less fluent than usual, however, the Celtic gaffer admitted the pitch did his team few favours.

He added: “It doesn’t help us, it’s really slow for the type of speed and football we want to play.

“But we got the job done in the end and it’s a good victory for us.

“The game we promote is about speed and the ball circulating quickly. But, listen, take nothing away from the boys who had to dig in and see it through.

“At 1-0, with the chances we had, the game should have been over long before that. But we make one or two mistakes at the back, it may give them a chance.

“However, we saw it through and that’s huge credit to them.”

 
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