Brendan Rodgers has no excuses after Old Firm derby defeat

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has stressed that his team should have no excuses after they suffered their first Old Firm defeat to Rangers in nearly seven years. The Hoops had come into the game with a 12-match unbeaten run against their Glasgow rivals but they could not sustain the run after Ryan Jack netted the sole goal for Steven Gerrard’s side in the 30th minute.

Speaking after the game, Rodgers indicated that Rangers deserved to win the game after his team struggled to create chances with many players appearing off-key with the performances on the playing field, he said: “Rangers deserved to win. We didn’t play well. We made too many unforced mistakes. We had to make a couple of changes early on, which interrupts a wee bit what we want to do later on. But I’ve no real excuses. We’ve got players missing but on the day Rangers were better than us - 13th time unlucky, unfortunately. We just didn’t have a good game. You have to be humble when you win but also honest when you lose and the honest answer is they were better than us today.”

Despite the loss, “the Hoops go into the New Year with the lead of the table ahead of Rangers on goal difference“ but they do importantly have the game in hand through which they could extend the gap at the top of the summit. Meanwhile, Rodgers has highlighted that team could seek to reinforce during “the winter transfer window“ and it remains to see whether the Northern Irishman will make any inroads into pursuing new signings.

Celtic have already won the Scottish Cup this term and they are still alive in the Europa League where they are scheduled to face Spanish side Valencia in the round of 32 stage. Unlike Celtic, the La Liga side have gone through a tough phase with goalscoring being a concern but they are nonetheless expected to prove a strong opponent for them than any of their league counterparts.