CELTIC boss Brendan Rodgers was not surprised by Kilmarnock’s negative tactics in last night’s goalless draw at Parkhead.

Rugby Park gaffer Steve Clarke set his side out not to lose a goal and with 10 men – and sometimes 11 – behind the ball they achieved their target.

Rodgers’ much-changed team struggled against a dull Killie outfit with no ambition to cross the halfway line.

He said: “Steve has done a very good job. Maybe in the last few games they have tried to open up a bit and obviously conceded. So, coming here and knowing how we have been playing and scoring, he probably wasn’t going to do that.

“They were compact and tight and if you can make the breakthrough early in the games it gives you a better opportunity, but we didn’t quite do that. So, it was a typical 0-0 game.”

With an eye on the Scottish Cup Final against Motherwell a week on Saturday following the final league game against Aberdeen on Sunday, Rodgers refused to risk Moussa Dembele, his only fit striker.

Leigh Griffiths was overlooked after his recent illness while Odsonne Edouard is likely to sit out the remaining two games through injury.

Rodgers added: “There is no doubt if I had the players available and fit I would have played a different system against that low block.

“But it was too big a risk. Moussa is my only fit striker and he is coming back from injury.

“He played great at the weekend, but I didn’t want to risk him. He will feature again at the weekend against Aberdeen.

“The game against Kilmarnock was about giving players the opportunity, those that have been on the side, Stuart Armstrong, Patrick Roberts, Jozo Simunovic, guys who haven’t had a lot of game time, young Calvin Miller coming in to get more experience, young Ewan Henderson coming on to the game to make debut. He is a talent.

“So. it was really positive from that aspect.”

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About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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