Brendan Rodgers: Celtic need to fix ‘difficult’ Celtic Park surface

The manager said the pitch was an issue in the 1-0 win over Ross County.

Brendan Rodgers: Celtic need to fix ‘difficult’ Celtic Park surface SNS Group

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers admitted they need to sort out their pitch and their penalties following a narrow victory over Ross County.

Rodgers claimed the Celtic Park surface was more like a field than a pitch after his side laboured at times towards a 1-0 win which restored their five-point lead over Rangers in the cinch Premiership.

Alistair Johnston’s deflected first-minute strike looked likely to open the floodgates but Luis Palma twice saw penalty attempts saved by George Wickens.

The Honduras winger put his second effort in the exact same spot after a retake was ordered following the encroachment of three County players into the area.

County hit the crossbar through Will Nightingale and threatened in the closing stages when Joe Hart held Jordan White’s effort at the second attempt.

Rodgers felt his side’s attempts were hindered by the pitch cutting up.

“We made a good start, then missing penalties creates bit of anxiety in the stadium,” he said.

“Then we’ve probably just not been decisive, in the first half. Second half the structure was better.

“It’s very difficult to play on the pitch and the challenge for us. People were miscuing the ball.

“Joe didn’t have much to do then – after the little breakaway at the end – he makes a good save and the guys get the job done.”

Rodgers claimed both his team and the opposition are surprised by the state of the pitch.

He added: “You look at (Liam) Scales’ pass, it comes off the toe and popped off, (Matt) O’Riley’s popped up and the fans get anxious but that’s the pitch. Then Cal (McGregor) gets ready to take a shot and it pops up and nearly goes up towards the top tier.

“I know speaking to the staff it has been the situation over the last few years.

“It’s something as a club we need to address, as a flagship club in Scotland and especially with how we want to play.

“It’s not overloaded with games – it’s more a field than a pitch. That’s the reality but however it sits, we have to get the job done and thankfully we did that.”

Palma also missed a penalty against Motherwell while Reo Hatate, Kyogo Furuhashi and David Turnbull have failed from 12 yards over the past 12 months.

“It’s something that’s worked on in training but you’ve got to be able to do that in the game so we’ll have to look at another taker,” Rodgers said.

The final whistle was met with some jeers from the home support but Rodgers was accustomed to the dissent.

“I’ve had that since I’ve been here,” he said. “If it’s not the result, it’s me. If not me, the board.

“So, all we can do as a team is win games and try to improve and develop – and win. That’s what the team has done.

“The team and ourselves as staff work hard every day together and that’s how we will continue to be. If it falls below the expectation, then we’ll do everything we can to be better.”

County manager Derek Adams was far happier with his side then seven days earlier after appearing to hint at regrets over returning to Dingwall following his side’s 3-0 Scottish Gas Scottish Cup defeat by Partick Thistle.

Adams said: “I thought to go down so early, the character was very good.

“We had four debutants and the way we played in and out of possession was very good. We hit the bar and got Joe Hart to make a good save towards the end.

“It’s not easy going down so early but the manner of the performance was excellent.”

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