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Plastic not perfect for Celtic manager Rodgers

Glasgow (AFP) – Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers admits he’s not a fan of plastic pitches as the Scottish champions prepare to take on Hamilton.

The runaway leaders play Hamilton on their FIFA-approved synthetic surface on Saturday as they bid to maintain their 14-point gap ahead of bitter rivals Rangers at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

Rodgers, whose side defeated Kilmarnock 1-0 on their artificial pitch earlier this season, hopes to see his side extend their 21-match unbeaten run in all competitions in Scotland this season. 

“It is always difficult. Any coach or manager will tell you, it is always a different game on a plastic pitch,” said Rodgers.

“I have yet to see a good game on a plastic pitch but I have to respect that the conditions for every club are different.

“Hamilton are a football club that has produced many great young players so they have a way of working and that’s what works for them, which is absolutely fine -– I respect that.”

The former Liverpool and Swansea boss says the surface will have a negative impact on his side’s free-flowing style and said it made it hard for the players to produce an entertaining spectacle for the supporters.

“In global football, most people will tell you that plastic pitches aren’t ideal, and that’s where you feel for supporters because are they seeing the best game of football possible?

“For us we have to turn up, be professional and look to get the job done.

“I think it is about going there and getting a result.

“Like I say, I have never seen a good game of football on a plastic pitch.

“It brings lots of different elements to the game. It brings an unpredictability to the game that you wouldn’t see in normal circumstances.

“I have seen a number of games on plastic pitches and been involved in a number of games on plastic pitches. I have yet to see a good one.”

It is a quick rematch between the two sides as Celtic came out 1-0 winners over Hamilton at Parkhead a week ago.

Rodgers, who will be without Australian international midfielder Tom Rogic due to an ankle knock, said he expected an equally tough test on Saturday.

“They were a tough team to break down the last time we played them and it is on an AstroTurf pitch, of course, which makes it even more difficult,” said Rodgers.

“So we will go expecting another tough game but looking to continue with our sequence of good results,” added the 43-year-old Northern Irishman.

Meanwhile, his Rangers counterpart, Mark Warburton, says he’s not looking to leave Rangers any time soon after he was linked with the England Under-21 job vacated by new England manager Gareth Southgate.

Warburton, who just a few weeks ago was coming under pressure from Rangers fans following a poor display in a 2-0 defeat to Hearts, is said to be being considered for the role by the Football Association due to his previous experience working in youth development.

But the former Brentford boss, whose side take on Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Saturday looking for their fourth consecutive win, says he hasn’t had any contact with the FA and claims he has unfinished business with Rangers.

“It’s very flattering but it’s a privilege to be manager here at Rangers. As I say I have a job in hand to do here,” said Warburton.

Fixtures (1945GMT unless otherwise stated)


Dundee v Hearts, Kilmarnock v St Johnstone, Motherwell v Aberdeen, Ross County v Partick Thistle


Hamilton v Celtic (1230), Rangers v Inverness CT (1230)

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