Brendan Rodgers satisfied with Celtic despite dropped points at Hibs

The Celtic manager declared he is satisfied with how his team navigated a difficult start.

Brendan Rodgers satisfied with Celtic start despite dropped points at Hibs SNS Group

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers declared himself satisfied with how his team have navigated a difficult start to the cinch Premiership season despite dropping points against Hibernian on Saturday.

The league leaders lacked urgency until the final quarter at Easter Road as they were held to a goalless draw.

Celtic were looking to follow up wins at Ibrox, Pittodrie, Fir Park and Tynecastle in the opening stages of the season but still retain a healthy lead in the title race.

With six of their next nine league games due to take place at Celtic Park, they can look to extend their lead before Christmas and the subsequent visit of Rangers on December 30.

Rodgers said: “After ten games you’re judging your team. We’ve won eight and drawn two. We’ve been to virtually every tough away ground in this country.

“We couldn’t get the win but we just take our point and move on to the next one.

“It’s been a difficult start for us in the league but we’ve come through it well.

“Saturday just wasn’t our day in terms of how we wanted the game to look.

“You have to give Hibs credit, they defended well in numbers. You have to respect that.

“We’ve won eight games and drawn two. The squad is getting better and we’ll get players back. It’s still early but after 10 games I’m pretty pleased.”

Rodgers admitted his side were too slow in possession for much of the game. Daizen Maeda forced an excellent save from David Marshall but the best chance of the first hour fell to Hibernian forward Martin Boyle, who volleyed over from just outside the six-yard box.

Rodgers had started with the team that played the bulk of Wednesday’s Champions League draw with Atletico Madrid but Celtic improved after he made a raft of attacking substitutions around the hour mark.

James Forrest hit the crossbar, Mikey Johnston forced a good save and David Turnbull kept the ball moving.

Rodgers said: “It’s not a league where you can always make wholesale changes and think you can win games.

“They’re all tough so it has to be strategic without upsetting the flow of the team.

“Over time every coach or manager would like to strengthen their squad. We’ve got what we’ve got and over time the players have shown their qualities in this opening period of the season.

“We’re not entitled to win every game we want to. But it’s not a day to point the finger at the bench or anyone else. The squad will get stronger hopefully in the time I’m here.”

Other than Maeda’s opportunity, Celtic struggled to break Hibs down in the first half but some slack passing from the hosts presented the champions with two half-chances.

Hibs head coach Nick Montgomery will keep telling his side to play out from the back.

“It is a work in progress,” he said. “I am six, seven games in and we have shown some great improvement. I want to be a team that plays out from the back and a team that competes for second balls.

“We don’t have any strikers that are six foot seven. That is not the way I want us to play.

“All credit to the boys for following the game plan. There were a few hairy moments but we created them ourselves by not seeing the pictures.

“We fixed that at half-time, pushed the full-backs and once we got into that final third we probably just need that bit more quality and composure to find a pass.”

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