Football: Christmas congestion no excuse – Rodgers

Football: Christmas congestion no excuse – Rodgers

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GLASGOW,(BSS/AFP) – Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers says his side’s hectic festive fixture list is not an excuse for any dip in performances from the Scottish champions. A clinical first-half performance from the Glasgow giants saw them record a 3-1 win over Hamilton on Wednesday to extend their unbeaten domestic run to 69 matches. But the Hoops, who were playing their fourth game in 11 days, tired in the second half as Hamilton rallied, with Rakish Bingham hitting the post. It comes on the back of Celtic’s 2-2 draw with Hibernian on Sunday, when Rodgers’s side threw away a two-goal lead with 15 minutes remaining. The Scottish Premiership leaders face another five games before the end of December, but Rodgers insists his players can cope with their heavy workload. “We know that we are in a run of games, but it’s a really tight schedule and it has been since June,” the Northern Irishman said. “From our first pre-season game we’ve been training and then playing right the way through to now, but it’s not an excuse for us. “We have to be ready to work hard in the game, press the game and when we have the ball, look after it. “I thought in the main the team did that very well. Of course Hamilton could put some risk into the game towards the end, but we saw it through and got the result.” French midfielder Olivier Ntcham fired Celtic in front with a superb volley in the 12th minute before Daniel Redmond levelled for Hamilton against the run of play. However, two goals in a minute from James Forrest and Scott Sinclair put the game to bed before half-time. “The second half was a test, with a two-goal advantage,” Rodgers said. “It was similar to the weekend and that’s what I talked about at half-time — the lessons that you learn from that, how you manage the game and create more, and try and squeeze the pitch. “I thought the players did that very well.” The win moves Celtic on to 41 points at the top of the Scottish Premiership as they bid for their seventh title in a row. Rivals Rangers remain five points behind in second place as they came from behind to claim a 2-1 win over Hibernian at Easter Road, while Aberdeen stay third on goal difference following their 3-0 away win against St Johnstone.

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