Rodgers seeks answers and says Celtic ‘have to be so much better’

Supporters made their feelings known after defeat to Hearts.

Brendan Rodgers seeks answers and says Celtic ‘have to be so much better’ SNS Group

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers will focus on finding answers from within during a crucial run of games after fans turned on the board during a 2-0 defeat by Hearts.

The home support did not take their first domestic defeat at Celtic Park since January 2021 well with cries of “sack the board” ringing out across Celtic Park after supporters in the main stand vented their frustration towards directors.

Celtic did not really look like mounting a comeback after Lawrence Shankland’s header and Stephen Kingsley’s free-kick put Hearts two ahead inside half an hour.

Only one of the club’s eight summer signings featured in the game and skipper Callum McGregor later stressed that Celtic need to sign quality players in January.

The likes of Josip Juranovic, Giorgios Giakoumakis, Jota, Aaron Mooy and Carl Starfelt have left over the past 12 months and the only new arrivals to establish themselves have been Alistair Johnston and Luis Palma.

Celtic have a serious title challenge on their hands with Rangers now five points behind with two games in hand in the cinch Premiership.

When asked about the chants against the board, many of which were directed towards chairman Peter Lawwell, Rodgers said: “That result is on myself and the players.

“We’re there, on the pitch, we have to be so much better than that. We have to focus on that. You can blame whoever you want but the reality is that that’s us on the field.

“And it’s nowhere near good enough for a Celtic team. I’ve been here long enough, I know the climate here, the expectations. Standing watching it, it’s not the level of a Celtic team or anywhere near it.”

Celtic face Livingston and Dundee before hosting Rangers on December 30 and Rodgers will focus on getting back on track after dropping eight points in five matches.

“Listen, there is still a hell of a long way to go and I know December is normally a grind up here, you are playing every three days,” Rodgers said.

“But that’s the expectation, that’s where we’re at. We have to find that strength, we need to analyse where it’s at and what we can be much better at.

“But for me it’s quite an easy reflection – you have to have greater desire and mentality. If you do that, you have a much better chance to succeed. That’s something I as a manager have to look to fix.”

Hearts bounced back from a 2-1 defeat by Aberdeen which left manager Steven Naismith accusing his players of being “bullied” in the second half. Their response was a first league win at Celtic Park since 2007.

Naismith said: “I think we are moving in the right direction as a squad.

“When you come into Hearts there is a demand there and a need to have success. But like anything it doesn’t happen overnight. You need to come through tough times and last week was a tough time, Monday morning’s meeting was tough.

“But what I like about this group is they have accepted it, they worked hard in training and they show you they have got that quality.

“They want to be as good as they can be individually but as a team they want to be successful.”

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