Saturday, March 17, 2018 | ePaper
Celtic can't always be perfect, admits Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers admitted Celtic can't always play perfect football after the champions ground out a 1-0 win at Partick Thistle.
French midfielder Olivier Ntcham's first goal for Celtic midway through the first half settled a hard-fought encounter on Friday.
It extended Celtic's unbeaten domestic run to 51 games as they made it two wins out of two at the start of their defence of the Scottish Premiership.
While Rodgers admits his side slipped below his high standards at Firhill, the Celtic manager praised their resilience in grinding out the win.
"I'm happy with the three points but I'm always happier when we play better," he said.
"We didn't quite perform as well as I would want - our standards are much higher than we showed - but it shows the resilience in the team to get the result tonight.
"We will hope to perform much better than that and it's certainly what I'll demand in relation to our performance level.
"But, of course, you can't always play perfect football. You're not going to play 38 games in the league and be absolutely brilliant in them.
"That was maybe a game we might have drawn last year having not played great.
"Thankfully it was three points and it's a huge credit to the players that if they're not right on their game they have the ability to see these games out now."
The win was perfect preparation for Celtic as they prepare for their Champions League play-off first leg against Astana at Parkhead next Wednesday.
The Hoops narrowly defeated the Kazakhstan side last season en route to the Champions League group stages, but Rodgers feels the Glasgow giants are better equipped this time round.
"I think we've got a better idea of what we're doing. That's always important," he said.
"Tactically we're much better than we were last year. We've strengthened the squad and we will do between now and the end of the window as well.
"We are in a much better position, but it still doesn't take away the anxiety and the pressures of the games.
"It will be a great night on Wednesday and we're looking forward to it. They're two big games and it's where we want to be - in the group stages of the Champions League."
Rangers, who started their season with a narrow 2-1 win over Motherwell last weekend, will attempt to keep pace with their rivals at the top of the table when they welcome Hibernian to Ibrox on Saturday.
Last season's runners-up, Aberdeen, are away to Ross County while managerless Hearts take on Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.