Brendan Rodgers sees Hampden chance as ‘a big step’ for Celtic

Celtic take on Livingston in the Scottish Cup quarter-final on Sunday.

Brendan Rodgers sees Hampden chance as ‘a big step’ for Celtic SNS Group

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is eyeing a “big step” in their season with the chance to renew his acquaintance with Hampden.

Rodgers enjoyed 10 victories out of 10 at the national stadium during his first spell in Scotland but his perfect domestic cup record was broken by Kilmarnock at Rugby Park at the first attempt in the League Cup this time round.

Sunday’s Scottish Gas Scottish Cup quarter-final against Livingston offers the chance to return to what has been a very familiar venue for Celtic in recent seasons.

In doing so they would inject a feelgood factor which has been in short supply recently after Celtic lost top spot in the cinch Premiership and missed the chance to return there last weekend.

“It’s an opportunity for us to make a big step into the semi-final,” Rodgers said.

“I am really looking forward to the game, the opportunity to get to Hampden again is a big motivation for us.

“Celtic is about winning and we said that you have got to get to Hampden and you have to enjoy that, because that’s where you win your trophies.

“I’m really looking forward to going there but we have got to get there and that’s the job for the weekend.”

Despite last Sunday’s defeat by Hearts, Rodgers is looking for his players to maintain the work ethic he has seen since some harsh half-time words at Fir Park inspired a comeback against Motherwell.

A missed penalty from Adam Idah and Yang Hyun-jun’s red card undermined Celtic’s encounter with Hearts inside the opening quarter but Rodgers saw encouraging traits among his players.

He knows they will need to adopt the same approach against David Martindale’s Livingston side, who have enjoyed two wins and six draws against Celtic during the past six seasons.

“David’s done a brilliant job for a number of years,” the Celtic manager said.

“In my first time up here, they were always a team that was very committed, very tough to beat. That’s in his psyche and I know that will always be in his team’s psyche. So we prepare for a tough game.

“I always feel we have to look at ourselves first and focus on the consistency of our work and our approach.

“The second half against Motherwell, the game against Dundee, the beginning of the game against Hearts, and even through that with 10 men, the players worked very hard in the games.

“That consistency is important to take that ethic in. If we can do that, that will elevate our game of football to a high level, and hopefully that will get us into the semi-final.”

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