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Celtic 2-1 Rangers: Rodgers fires back at Sutton after Hoops edge closer to title

Brendan Rodgers was in a punchy mood after his Celtic side took a giant step towards retaining their Scottish crown

Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers took aim at Chris Sutton after Celtic saw off Rangers to move within a point of the Scottish Premiership title.

The Hoops edged a pulsating Old Firm derby 2-1 to move six points clear of their Glasgow rivals with two games remaining.

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The scoreline tells a fraction of the story from a typically high-octane encounter that came alive late in the first half. A Matt O’Riley strike and an own goal from John Lundstram put the hosts in control only for Cyriel Dessers to pull one back almost immediately.

Celtic regained the momentum in first-half stoppage time when Lundstram was sent off for a wild tackle on Alistair Johnston that was upgraded from a yellow card to red following the intervention of VAR.

O’Riley saw a second-half penalty saved while Daizen Maeda had two goals disallowed for offside.

Rodgers’ men hung on despite a nervy finish, allowing the former Leicester City boss to take aim at his critics after the game.

Top of his hit-list was pundit Sutton, who wrote in a newspaper column in December that the Celtic boss was “going through the motions” in his second spell at Parkhead.

Rodgers said: “I heard someone saying earlier in the season Brendan Rodgers was going through the motions.

“I get to work between half seven and eight o’clock every day of my life. I leave the training ground between half six and seven o’clock at night and then when I get home I have my dinner and flip on the computer and look at more football.

“If that is going through the motions then I want to know what every other manager is doing because what is every other manager doing if I’m going through the motions.

“On a personal level I’ve been treated like a novice since I’ve come back here, like it’s my first job. However, my principle objective is to make sure Celtic win. Part of that is a part of the criticism and I understand that.

“But it’s the mentality of the team which is most important to me and that mentality you can see, from were we were with injuries, how we’ve progressed, how we stayed unified and to get to this point where we’re nearly crossing the finishing line and we don’t want to just cross it, we want to sprint across it with two games to go plus a cup final and that is our mentality.”

Clement goes easy on Lundstram

Rangers boss Philippe Clement was disappointed with Lundstram’s moment of madness which effectively ended his side’s title challenge.

Asked if he has any complaints with the red card, he said: “No, it is totally unnecessary to make a tackle there at that moment but Lunny will be the first one to know.

“It is a one-split second decision making and the wrong decision making. But I don’t forget all the things he has done well the last couple of months also.

“He didn’t speak afterwards. Of course, he is disappointed. He will feel like that [like he’s let team-mates down]. But I also had moments like that in my career where you get a red card when it is not necessary. He is experienced. He knows and I’m sure in the next couple of weeks he’ll still want to fight for this team.

“Maybe he wanted to fight a little bit too much and take the team with him.”

Picture of Jon Fisher

Jon Fisher

Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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