CELTIC boss Brendan Rodgers insisted his team’s display in the 1-0 Betfred League Cup semi-final win over Rangers today matched the 5-1 drubbing of their Ibrox rivals in the Premiership last month.

A Moussa Dembele goal three minutes from time sent the Hoops through to the Betfred Cup Final against Aberdeen on November 27.

Despite the narrow scoreline, Rodgers claimed the performance was as dominant as the one he witnessed at Parkhead last month when Dembele helped himself to a hat-trick.

Ibrox keeper Matt Gilks made a series of superb saves while Erik Sviatchenko “scored” only for referee Craig Thomson to rule it out in controversial circumstances.unspecified-66

Asked about comparing the two Glasgow derbies, Rodgers replied: “Yes, I think it was just the goals.

“I think it was pretty clear. We had that same performance, but we just didn’t finish the opportunities.

“I need to see the header again, but it looked very harsh, the one that was disallowed. When the ball comes in to the box both sets of players are physically trying to command that edge to get a touch on it.

“We had other chances that could have gone in, but didn’t. However, again it shows the mentality in the team.

“They kept going, didn’t get disappointed, had great discipline and eventually got their reward which they deserved.”

Rodgers admitted some relief at getting the winner in the closing stages.

He added: “Yes, because I thought we were very dominant in terms of chances and power and strength and quality in our game.

“Sometimes you never know, if the chances don’t go in and you don’t get that little bit of luck you are always vulnerable to a counter-attack.

“Tactically, the players were brilliant, we stopped them building.unspecified-51

“Then when we had the ball we created opportunities and looked a real threat going forward so every element of our game was at a high level.”

Ibrox boss Mark Warburton believes his side are not so far behind Celtic.

He said: “We’ve worked very hard to move forward and gel as a team and I hope you saw that today.

“They scored one goal and we didn’t – that’s the difference. They took one chance right at the death.

“It was that type of game where one chance would change it. It was nip and tuck with chances at both ends and that one went in. It was as simple as that.

“The so-called gap is a lot narrower than people think and we have to learn from today’s performance.

“We’re getting there and the players are understanding what we want and I’m delighted with the progress we’ve made.”


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