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RODGERS’ REPLY TO KEANE

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BRENDAN RODGERS has taken a sideswipe at Roy Keane after he had given Celtic a verbal bashing following their 7-0 loss in Barcelona in the Nou Camp.

The Hoops boss told Keane his players celebrated reaching the Champions League only as joyously as the Republic of Ireland did when they qualified for this summer’s European Championship Finals in France.

Keane, assistant to Martin O’Neill with the international squad, shredded the Parkhead men for the performance at the Nou Camp and he claimed their exuberant reaction to qualifying was way over the top. 

Rodgers hailed his players for winning through six matches in three continents earlier this summer to join the Euro elite.

He said: “I have seen some bits of Roy. Listen, I respect his opinion. He has been a manager and he understands and he is an assistant now.

“He has seen what it means in order to achieve something. When they qualified for the Euros I think that was an achievement.

“I don’t think there were too many of their staff who stood not smiling, or hugging, or cuddling.

“Where we are at, we went through six real tough qualification games. You can’t understand it until you actually come through it and actually experience the emotion and what it means to people.”

Keane, who spent a short spell at Parkhead at the end of his playing career in 2006, said: “Even when they qualified for this group, the celebrations were way over the top. They scraped through and I thought they’d actually won the competition.

“People were hugging each other – the manager, the coaches, the players. Throughout the last number of years when they have been involved in Europe they have struggled and lesser teams than Celtic have done well in Europe. 

“A lot of these players for Celtic are international players. It’s not Altrincham, it’s Celtic. They’ve got to do much better.”

Rodgers also revealed Leigh Griffiths is back in training, but won’t feature against Inverness Caley Thistle in the Highland capital tomorrow afternoon.

The Bhoys gaffer also refused to join the debate launched by Mark Warburton 24 hours earlier, when the Ibrox boss claimed the outlook in Scottish football is too negative.

He laughed: “Ask me in 12 months!”

 
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