Rodgers 99.9 per cent happy

Boss Brendan Rodgers declared himself almost totally satisfied with his Celtic side following their 4-2 Ladbrokes Premiership win over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

The champions were commanding in the first half and led at the interval through goals from striker Leigh Griffiths, on his 26th birthday, and forwards Scott Sinclair and James Forrest.

Celtic cruised the second half until the 82nd minute, when Hoops substitute Liam Henderson fouled Danny Swanson to hand the home side a penalty which the Saints midfielder converted.

Striker Steven MacLean grabbed a second in the 88th minute to give the Perth side some late hope.

However, Parkhead substitute Ryan Christie made it 4-2 in added time to put a fairer reflection of the game on the scoreline.

“I thought 99.9 per cent of that game we were outstanding,” said Rodgers.

“The quality of our football. in particular the first half, was excellent. We had opportunities in good areas in the second half.

“We had total control of the game and give away a really soft penalty – and it was a penalty. It was a poor challenge – and we lose a goal when we are down to 10 men (Henderson was off getting treatment for a cut eye).

“So all of a sudden the scoreline is nowhere near the actual game – but it gives them a little bit of hope.

“But once we get 11 men back on the field again we have the dominance on the ball and we create another chance and score. So I don’t think the scoreline reflected the game if I am honest.

“We got four today and we maybe could have got another four, which is a huge compliment to the players because this is a team that has done really well under Tommy Wright.”

Ahead of the second leg of the Champions League play-off tie against Hapoel Be’er Sheva in Israel on Tuesday night where Celtic lead 5-2 from the first leg, Rodgers admitted some concerned about the goals conceded.

However, the former Liverpool boss, in mitigation, pointed to the ages of three of his back four; 20-year-old Saidy Janko, Eoghan O’Connell who turned 21 last week and 19-year-old Kieran Tierney.

He said: “Yes, it is poor. But you also have to understand that three of our back four are 20 years and 19.

“That is what happens, you want to put young players in, they don’t have the experience to know that the game is never done until the final whistle but they will learn from it.

“That can leave a bitter taste in your mouth but I can’t forget how good they were today on the back end of a really tough schedule of games.”

St Johnstone boss Wright hailed Celtic as “magnificent” but insists his side contributed to their first defeat of the season.

He said: “There is no doubt Celtic were excellent, particularly first half.

“I will watch it back but I know we deserved to be behind at half-time and we contributed to that.

“The three goals, I don’t have to watch back, all were poor goals from our point of view.

“We gave the ball away cheaply on the halfway line, we don’t win the second ball in midfield, something we are brilliant at, and the third goal…we should deal with the problem on the halfway line and we don’t.

“That’s not taking away anything from Celtic, they were magnificent. But from my point of view, the three goals we conceded were poor.

“We showed character in the second half and were better and if we had maybe a bit more time we might have pulled off an unbelievable result.”

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