Glasgow (AFP) – Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers praised his players for a perfect response as the Scottish champions returned to winning ways against Partick Thistle.
The Hoops’ record-breaking 69-match unbeaten domestic run came to a stunning end last Sunday when the Glasgow giants were hammered 4-0 by Hearts.
But the Parkhead club bounced back on Wednesday against bottom of the table Thistle as goals from Stuart Armstrong and Kieran Tierney helped the Hoops extend their lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership to five points.
Victory in the rearranged fixture means the Hoops have now gone two calendar years without defeat at Celtic Park and guarantees them top spot at Christmas ahead of Aberdeen, who they host on Saturday.
And Rodgers hailed his players for their positive reaction after a disappointing defeat at Tynecastle.
“I thought tonight the players reacted very, very well. I think it’s a mark of the team and I’ve seen that in my time here,” the Celtic manager said.
“I said to them before the game that you define yourself as a team whenever you have disappointment by what your reaction is to it.
“If you look at the type of performance we put in against Hearts – which wasn’t very good – that can happen in any game you play.
“So for the team to have gone through the period that they did and not have lost up until the weekend, and now two years without losing a home game, takes a remarkable level of concentration, will and desire as a professional player.
“I tip my hat to the players. It’s absolutely brilliant. They showed a great reaction tonight and now we can start to get ready for the weekend.”
After their hammering by Hearts on Sunday, Thistle expected a backlash from the Celtic players who had a point to prove.
– Compper signing ‘real coup’ –
However, those fears were unfounded in the opening stages when chances were few and far between.
“In these games last season we only won 1-0 and drew 1-1 here so we always knew it was going to be difficult, but I thought we came through it very well,” the Celtic manager said.
“Tonight it took us a wee bit of time to get going and find our range but you see the condition of the players and how stronger they got as they went on.
“We needed that wee bit of magic from Stuart and it was an absolute brilliant goal and it gave us that comfort in the game.
“We needed to adjust one or two things at half-time in order to get better control of the game and I think in the second half we did that very well.
“Our movement and positioning was good and we scored a very good team goal.”
Celtic paraded new signing Marvin Compper at half-time with the German defender penning a two-and-a-half year deal to join the Hoops from RB Leipzig in January.
“I’m really excited about him. He brings a wealth of experience coming from one of the teams that have really grown in European football in the past five years,” Rodgers said.
“He was a mainstay for Leipzig when they finished second in the Bundesliga so for us to get him is a real coup.
“He’s a big talent and I think he can come in and do really well for us.”
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