‘WE PLAYED BETTER WITH 10,’ HOOPS BOSS

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BRENDAN RODGERS insists Celtic played better with only 10 men in the disappointing goalless draw with St Mirren in Paisley.

Olivier Ntcham went from hero to zero in the space of a fortnight when he was banished in the 37th minute after two yellow cards.

The Frenchman thumped in the winner against Sevco Rangers, but two rash challenges saw him dismissed against the Saints, a refereeing decision that did not sit well with the Hoops boss, as CQN reported last night.

Rodgers admitted he was frustrated with having to settle for a point, but gave credit to his side for their work-rate.

He said: “We were playing against a spirited team that have made a change in manager and were always going to make it difficult for us.

“I don’t think we started the game well. We were a bit passive in our defending, but once we organised that after 15 or 20 minutes, we were better.

“Just before the sending-off, we started to find the gaps and we looked a little bit more of a threat and then Olivier got sent off. It didn’t change too much of the game. If anything, we dominated even more. The story was that we just couldn’t quite make the final pass or the final action in front of goal.

“The players gave absolutely everything on the back of an international break. You want to win, but it’s another clean sheet and we’ll just take a point and move on.”

OFFSIDE…Leigh Griffiths is out of luck with his last-minute effort is disallowed.

Leigh Griffiths, who came as a substitute for debutant Filip Benkovic on the hour mark, almost celebrated his new four-year deal with the winner in the fading moments, but his effort was ruled out for offside.

Rodgers is delighted the 28-year-old Scotland international hitman has pledged his future to the Hoops.

The Irishman said: “It’s brilliant for the club and him, now he can really focus on his football and get to a consistent level of fitness and availability. Hopefully, he’ll be back to scoring goals. The supporters love him and we all love him, so it’s good news.”

Griffiths claimed his 100th strike for the club with a typical free-kick in the 3-0 Europa League play-off against FK Suduva at Parkhead last month.

He’ll be looking to kicking off his second century if he gets the nod to face Rosenborg in the group stages at Parkhead on Thursday.

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