Rodgers: Fans can protest but we must concentrate on football

Celtic ran out to chants of 'sack the board' from the visiting fans at Pittodrie.

Rodgers: Fans can protest but we must concentrate on football Alan Harvey via SNS Group

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers called on his players to focus on the football and ease the dissent among fans with results after a 1-1 draw at Aberdeen exacerbated the concerns of the Hoops support.

Celtic ran out to chants of “sack the board” from the visiting fans and a banner reading “Celtic board, on your heads be it”.

Supporters were unhappy with a transfer window that saw Nicolas Kuhn and on-loan Norwich forward Adam Idah arrive and the likes of David Turnbull and Mikey Johnston depart.

Kuhn netted Celtic’s equaliser in the 63rd minute, four minutes after coming off the bench, but many supporters believe the failure to further strengthen the squad has risked their cinch Premiership title defence and they resumed their chants of dissent after the game.

The name “Lawwell” was central to the noise, after the influence of chairman Peter Lawwell and the record of his son, head of recruitment Mark Lawwell, came under scrutiny in recent days.

Rodgers had called for unity ahead of the game and he said afterwards: “I can only concentrate with the players on what we do on the field.

“You always find that winning games and performing well can ease those situations, and that’s what we aim to do.

“Supporters pay their money, they have every right to say what they want to say.

“For us it’s the field, we can only control that. If we can do that, then we will be okay.”

Rodgers, who felt his side lacked aggression in the second half, agreed it was “very important” not to let the complaints become a distraction to his players.

Although the fans were chanting against the board before and after the game, they applauded the players and manager after the final whistle and supported throughout.

“Whatever goes on outside of the field, you have to be able to deal with that,” he added.

“At a club like Celtic, and the biggest clubs, there will always be that pressure there. I don’t need to add any more pressure to the players. They understand, playing here.

“My job is to give them the confidence to find the results we need to find. But there’s still so many games and a long, long way to go.”

Aberdeen did not manage a single effort at goal in the first half but Bojan Miovski netted on the counter-attack in the 50th minute and the Dons had several opportunities to win the game in a strong second-half showing.

Caretaker manager Peter Leven revealed his simple message to his players at half-time: “Relax.”

He added: “Celtic are a good team, they are going to pin you back but when we turned possession over, we just needed to make a few more passes.

“We knew Celtic were going to press the first five seconds. I just said ‘believe in yourselves, be a bit more braver on the ball’. And I think you could see that in the second half.

“We had a few chances in the second half. The boys ran well second half, pressed them, passed the ball a lot better. It was just about belief.”

Aberdeen players were incensed that referee Steven McLean did not send off Maik Nawrocki after the defender fouled Miovski while already on a yellow card but Leven did not make much of the incident.

“I never saw it again,” the first-team coach said. “The second yellow card never happened but it’s one of these things the referee has got to deal with.”

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