ST MIRREN may be rooted to the foot of the Championship, but Brendan Rodgers praised the strugglers after Celtic’s 4-1 Scottish Cup quarter-final win yesterday.

The Irishman insisted the Paisley outfit have been the most difficult domestic opponents the Hoops have faced.

The Celtic boss said: “St Mirren would hold their own in the Premiership.

“They are the best team we have played, without any shadow of a doubt.

“They have good organisation and Jack Ross has obviously gone in there and made an impact.

“He has got them well organised and there are moments in games that make you think about the level of coaching.

“Certain things make you think: ‘Oh, okay’. It is little details that can define coaches. 

“St Mirren have good speed, they have young players with enthusiasm and energy.

“They can hurt you and Stephen Mallan and Stephen McGinn in midfield are technically gifted.

“They play football and St Mirren have been our biggest threat domestically this season, for sure.”

Paisley gaffer Ross was pleased to hear Rodgers’ comments, but his main aim now will be to take that level of performance into Wednesday night when they play Raith Rovers.

He said: “It’s a good compliment for the players. They should take satisfaction from that, realising what a good team they are.

“I’ve spoken about it since the window closed. I believe we have a stronger squad now with a better balance.

“They should take enormous satisfaction from it, but, equally, they need to have a desire to prove it game in, game out.

“They need to take the level of performance from our last few games into Wednesday and beyond.”

Ross also admitted his players had turned up at Celtic Park yesterday with the intention of being the first domestic team to beat them.

He added: “The first emotion for us is disappointment because we did come here to win and progress to the semi-finals.

“People might think that was foolhardy, but that was our ambition.

“We were halfway towards doing that, so there is that disappointment that we haven’t managed to achieve what we wanted to.

“But when you put that aside, there is pride in how we performed and in how well we made Celtic have to play to win the game.

“They are a very good team and very powerful when they are in full flight.

“They are very difficult to stop and that was the case once they got that first goal.”


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