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‘STILL A WAY TO GO,’ WARNS RODGERS

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BRENDAN RODGERS has admitted Celtic can take nothing for granted and there is “still a way to go” after last night’s 2-0 win over St Johnstone at Parkhead.

The Hoops’ TWELFTH successive league victory leaves the champions with a six-point advantage over Rangers and Kilmarnock.at the top of the Premiership.

Second-half goals in the space of two electrifying minutes from Callum McGregor and Ryan Christie were enough to see off the plucky Perth outfit.who made things difficult for the home side in the first-half, especially keeper Zander Clark who produced a stunning one-handed save to deny a close-range header from Scott Sinclair.

The victory put the champions on course for their eighth successive Premiership crown, but Rodgers refused to get carried away.

He said: “It is still very early, there are still a lot more games to go. We are just entering into the beginning of February.

“We have looked at that free game for the last two months, everyone has looked at it and thought are they going to win it because they are playing against a good side and we did that and played very well.

“It is six points which is nice, a good goal difference, clean sheets, defending very well, but still a way to go.”

IN WITH A SHOUT…Ryan Christie celebrates his goal against St Johnstone.

The Celtic gaffer revealed central defender Filip Benkovic will be out for four to five weeks with an ankle injury and that could mean plans for Jack Hendry to go out on loan may have to be shelved.

Speaking about the Croatian Under-21 international’s situation, Rodgers explained: “I think initially four to five weeks. He will have his ankle in a boot for the next couple of weeks and then we will assess it after four weeks and it will take a week to 10 days to get back into training rhythm again.

“It is disappointing, but Jozo Simunovic came in and was excellent against St Johnstone, concentrated, alert, defended well, passed it well and when he is like that he is a very good player.”

Rodgers said that he wouldn’t be “overly busy” on transfer deadline day, but was hopeful he would be able to bring in one more player. That would be in addition to Ukrainian winger Maryan Shved, who will sign for the club before returning to Karpaty Lviv on loan until the summer.

He added: “I spoke to him before the game. The medical is done. He will go back to Ukraine to finish off the season and come back in April to train.”

Perth chief Tommy Wright, who saw his side beaten by Rodgers’ men for the third time this season without scoring a goal and conceding nine, said: “It was a hard night for us, but we knew it was going to be.

“I thought we frustrated them the first-half.

“We had to be organised and disciplined and we were, but we had to be good on the ball because if you don’t take care of the ball here it makes for a long night and that was the one aspect that was failing.

“But I can’t fault the players for effort and work-rate.”

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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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