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RODGERS RELISHES FESTIVE ACTION

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BRENDAN RODGERS enjoyed a Christmas break last year after leaving Liverpool at the start of October.
But the Celtic boss is delighted to be back in the thick of the action, including this month’s hectic nine-game schedule which continues with tomorrow’s 12.30pm kick-off at Hamilton Accies.
Rodgers admitted: “It was nice last year to have that breather.
“I probably felt what it was like for my counterparts around Europe.

“For me, it was a little bit strange and I don’t think we should lose the festive period of games. I’m very much a traditionalist and games you remember can come at this time of year.

“I like the Christmas Eve fixture, too, as opposed to the Boxing Day game. I think that’s good. But what’s great this year is that we have the chance to recover after that. I think that’s great.

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“Let’s not take away from the supporters who have memories created from these types of fixtures. Brilliant.”

With nine of them coming in 28 December days, it’s been an exceptionally busy period for the Irishman who also praised his players.

He added: “It’s been really good and this month has given us a real indication of their mentality.

“Because of the number of matches, you will, of course, lose a bit of fluency naturally and that bit of cohesiveness.

“But what you have to do in these periods is to win games and we have shown throughout this season we can play and manage and win many different types of games.

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“If it’s a fast, footballing game, we can win that. If you have to dig in, put your foot in and be aggressive, we can do that. If you have to stand up, we can do that and, if the game gets a little bit broken, we can still find a way.

“That’s been a real plus for us in a busy schedule and we’ve enjoyed the challenge of it from a coaching and management perspective.

“We moved eight players when we went away to face Ross County, but I was confident the players who went into the team would win.

“It’s a great symbol of the team and how hard they work.

“I’ve got players here who have hardly been involved in the first team and it is a mark of respect to their work that they are at their lightest bodyweight they have ever been.

“Some of them are hardly playing, yet they are still working and hoping they might get the chance and their bodies are in great condition.

“If they do come in, they will be ready. That’s a big tick in the box for their mentality and the respect they have for their profession.”

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