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‘SLOPPY DEFENDING MUST STOP,’ RODGERS

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FRUSTRATED Brendan Rodgers criticised shocking Celtic defending in the 1-1 Europa League first leg play-off draw against FK Suduva in Lithuania tonight.

The Hoops boss watched his side take the lead after only three minutes through Olivier Ntcham, but lamentably his dithering back lot allowed Ovidijus Verbickas a free header shortly afterwards for the equaliser.

Cristian Gamboa, Jozo Simunovic and Craig Gordon didn’t deal with a routine free-kick and the Celts suffered as a consequence.

Rodgers said: “We seemed to lack concentration which was a problem for us and lacked pride in terms of defending.

“The set-piece situations we’re conceding from, it’s probably the easiest thing to defend.

“It was a basic ball into the box, so you have to deal with that and have a mentality not to concede and too often over this early part of the season, we’ve conceded.

“Collectively we can do better. We’re controlling lots of the game, but in the last round we had four shots on target against us over two games where we were clearly the better team.

“However, we conceded three goals, so it has to stop.

“I felt for the supporters tonight. They’ve come all the way out here.

“Probably trains, buses and everything. It’s a disappointing performance for them.

“They saw a goal, but we have to be much better than that.”

Celtic, who have now conceded in their last six games, have a chance to rectify the problem with their next three matches at home against Hamilton Accies on Sunday, Suduva in the return a week tonight and Sevco Rangers the following Sunday.

 
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