Rodgers hails McGre­gor’s adapt­abil­ity dur­ing Hearts vic­tory

Celtic nar­row the gap at the top of the ta­ble to just one point

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Soccer -

Bren­dan Rodgers praised Cal­lum McGre­gor af­ter the ver­sa­tile Celtic man turned in an­other in­flu­en­tial per­for­mance in the 5-0 win over Hearts at Park­head.

The 25-year-old Scot­land in­ter­na­tional is well-known for his abil­ity to play in sev­eral po­si­tions and has taken over the hold­ing mid­fielder role in the ab­sence of in­jured cap­tain Scott Brown.

McGre­gor pulled the strings as the cham­pi­ons moved within a point of Hearts at the top of the ta­ble.

French striker Od­sonne Edouard grabbed a dou­ble, one ei­ther side of Filip Benkovic’s first goal for Celtic from a McGre­gor cor­ner, as the home side stormed into a com­fort­able in­ter­val lead with fur­ther goals in the sec­ond half from James For­rest and a Ryan Christie penalty.

Clever

“He con­trols the tempo of the game,” said Rodgers of McGre­gor. “He is a boy that takes the ball, so clever in his move­ments and we ask him to go into cer­tain area of the pitch to of­fer sup­port.

“He has a dream of a touch which al­lows him to go for­ward. His feet are nice and soft, he doesn’t play­ing back­wards so

Celtic have scored 23 goals in their last five do­mes­tic games

much and he has a great range of passes and he has the per­son­al­ity now to play those passes, not just one that is se­cure to keep the ball, he can break a line with a pass and open up and split up the game for us.

“He has been ab­so­lutely ex­cep­tional in that role but I say that ev­ery­where he plays.”

Celtic have scored 23 goals in their last five do­mes­tic games and the com­pre­hen­sive vic­tory over the league lead­ers pleased Rodgers.

The North­ern Ir­ish­man added: “It is much more like us. It is still early but it is nice and it was a joy to watch the team and see their qual­i­ties.”

Hearts man­ager Craig Levein took the blame for the de­feat but put it into con­text of a side miss­ing key play­ers such as de­fend­ers Christophe Berra and John Sout­tar and Steven Nai­smith and Uche Ik­peazu. Boy­ata,Tier­ney,McGre­gor,Christie,For­rest, Rogic,Sin­clair(Mor­gan80),Edouard(John­ston 72).Sub­sno­tused:Hendry,Hayes,Bain, McIn­roy. Dunne,Mitchell(Garuc­cio46),Har­ing,Clare (Mor­ri­son73),Djoum,Cochrane,Mul­raney (Wighton81),MacLean.Sub­sno­tused: Bozanic,Lee,Doyle,Hughes.Booked:Clare, Har­ing,Smith.

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