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RODGERS HAILS STAND-IN SKIPPER STUART

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CELTIC boss Brendan Rodgers made five changes to his starting line-up for the 2-1 win over Dundee yesterday as he utilised his squad during the nine-game schedule this month.
Stuart Armstrong took over as skipper with Scott Brown suspended after picking up six bookings.
The midfielder has been in outstanding form since pushing his way back into the team and Rodgers praised him after giving him the captaincy,
He said: “It was a symbol for him and the other players. This was a guy who was one of the real stand-out players when I was assessing the squad.

“He came back in and was probably in doubt if he was going to play for me. Early in the season, if you think back, he wasn’t even in a couple of my squads.

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“But guys like him epitomise really how I work and if they can adapt to how I want to work and the concepts, then they can fly. The same with guys like Craig Gordon – they understand how we want to work and they’re prepared to work, and they get their reward.

“And Stu has been a great symbol of that. You look at him now. He’s outstanding in everything he does – his pressing first and foremost, his positioning and now his quality on the ball. He plays with that pause in the game that I like.

“As a midfield player, you need to be able to put your foot on the ball and make the right choices and make the right passes, but he’s also got that dynamic to break forward, so he’s a great symbol of what spirit and what learning and coaching is about.”

Rodgers added: “You’ll always miss Scott. If we’d won 5-0, we’d still have missed him. He’s just an exceptional player, an exceptional leader for the team, so win, lose or draw, if he’s not playing, for me, we’re not a better team, but that doesn’t take away from the players who came in against Dundee and did very well.

“Broony probably wouldn’t have wanted the rest, but it would have been nice for him, and we’ve got some big games coming up between now and the break, so he’ll be ready for that now.”

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