24 Sep Rodgers ready for City
Boss Brendan Rodgers believes Celtic’s 6-1 Ladbrokes Premiership thrashing of Kilmarnock was the perfect warm-up for Manchester City.
Souleymane Coulibaly gave Killie the lead in the 33rd minute against the run of play with remarkable strike from 35 yards before a double in three minutes from Hoops striker Moussa Dembele had the home side deservedly ahead at the interval.
Substitute keeper Craig Gordon replaced Dorus de Vries for the second-half due to a strained chest when he landed after trying to save Coulibaly’s shot and he will be monitored before the Champions League Group C clash with the Premier League leaders, who won 3-1 at Swansea to keep them top with a 100 per cent record after six games.
Gordon, however, was a mere spectator as further goals from James Forrest, substitute Leigh Griffiths, on for Dembele, a Scott Sinclair penalty – scoring in his sixth consecutive league game – and a late Tom Rogic strike stretched Celtic’s lead at the top of the table to five points over Hearts with a game in hand.
Turning his attention to City, Rodgers said: “If you win a game 6-1 it gives you great confidence.
“They (City) are an incredible team playing with high confidence in their own league.
“They get a group of the best players in the world and work them very hard and well so it is a great game for us .
“A home game in the Champions League is a special night and you can’t really prepare for it any better than we did today.”
The former Swansea and Liverpool boss was reluctant to place the blame on de Vries, whom he signed in the summer from Nottingham Forest but who has yet to convince the Parkhead fans, for getting beat from so far out, preferring to give credit to Coulibaly.
He said: “He maybe could have played on but we have Craig there fit and capable and I didn’t want to take any risk and we will see over the next couple of days
“I watched it two or three times again and I give the credit to the player.
“You could say the keeper was in a perfect position, because normally from that distance you would have them further forward but I thought he was in a good position.
“But when you actually see the strike, it would be harsh to say anything against the kid.
“It was an incredible turn, touch, the technique was great but obviously when a keeper gets beat from that range there is always a question mark. I applaud to the kid, it was a great goal.
“But we stayed calm afterwards. Sometimes those kinds of goals can shock a team but our attacking play was very good but equal of that was our defensive aggression.
“We stayed calm created chances.”
Rodgers will have no qualms playing Gordon against City if de Vries does not make it.
He said: “He is more than capable. He is a brilliant shot stopper, improving his game with his feet all the time.”
Killie boss Lee Clark felt sorry for Coulibaly after scoring such a remarkable goal before his side’s collapse.
He said: “It was out of this world. He done it so quickly, there was no backlift.
“It went like an arrow but it is a shame it will be forgotten about.
“We got blown away in the second half. It was men against boys in every aspect but we have got to to learn from it.
“We could have done more but we came up against a class act.”