CELTIC v KILMARNOCK KILLIE A DAN­GER

Bren says they can dream like Foxes

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - LEINSTER CLUB SFC FINAL - BY GOR­DON PARKS

BREN­DAN RODGERS in­sists Kilmarnock have earned the right to dream of do­ing a Le­ices­ter City.

The Celtic boss is adamant Steve Clarke’s side are ca­pa­ble of copy­ing the Foxes’ fairy­tale ti­tle-win­ning suc­cess of 2016 which saw the 5,000-1 out­siders land one the most un­likely tri­umphs in foot­ball his­tory.

Ev­i­dence of Killie’s re­mark­able resur­gence was laid bare with the statis­tic that they are only three points be­hind the cham­pi­ons over the last 38 games.

Rodgers (in­set) said: “Steve has done great, he’s re­ally gal­vanised the club and team. The big­gest credit you can give Steve and his team is that it’s not a sur­prise.

“If you’ve watched them over the last year they’ve been con­sis­tently very, very good at get­ting re­sults.

“Where they are now – OK they have played a cou­ple more games than other teams – but they have got the re­sults and they have got the points.

“They are a very, very dif­fi­cult team to play against. They de­fend very deep. They are tight and well or­gan­ised and com­pact. You need to be very pa­tient when you are play­ing against them and you need to be able to move the ball quickly.”

Just a point sep­a­rates Killie from Rodgers’ men and he recog­nises Clarke’s man­age­rial nous as a boss who is carved in his own im­age.

He said: “Steve and I are both what you would call coach­ing man­agers. We like to coach. We like to be on the grass with the play­ers and feel them close and help them de­velop. That’s our nat­u­ral habi­tat.

“My mis­sion when I first came in here was to try and in­spire the play­ers to be the best they can pos­si­bly be. Ste­vie is get­ting the best out of the ex­pe­ri­enced guys like Gary Dicker and Chris Burke, who have been around the block and un­der­stand the game.

“And he’s get­ting the best out of the boy Stephen O’don­nell and Greg Tay­lor who has done great. He’s nur­tured and de­vel­oped them and shown his coach­ing qual­i­ties. He’s do­ing a fan­tas­tic job. It’s not an ac­ci­dent how con­sis­tent they are. Now they have a be­lief they can win games.” Rodgers has no fresh in­jury wor­ries but Killie de­fender Kirk Broad­foot is a doubt af­ter be­ing car­ried off with a head in­jury in the win over Liv­ingston.

UN­LIKELY LEAD­ERS Kilmarnock’s Greg Stewart (left) scores in 2-0 win over Liv­ingston on Wed­nes­day

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