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Rodgers: Persistence and quality key to Celtic's late show

The champions scored two late goals to beat St Johnstone 2-0 in the Premiership.

Rodgers applauds the Celtic support with striker Tim Weah.
Rodgers applauds the Celtic support with striker Tim Weah. SNS

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers praised the "persistence and quality" of his side after two late goals at St Johnstone restored their six point advantage at the top of the table.

St Johnstone defended stoically to keep the champions at bay but Celtic's pressure eventually told in the 78th minute when James Forrest broke the deadlock.

Timothy Weah, who set up the opener after climbing off the bench, then found the net himself in the dying moments to secure all three points for the Hoops.

Rodgers, whose side had beaten St Johnstone 2-0 at Parkhead on Wednesday night, said: "It was a good demonstration of our persistence and quality in the game.

"It was a very good performance against a team that are so difficult to play against. We had everything thrown at us today in terms of injuries and what not.

"The game went how we thought it would go, similar to Wednesday night where we had to be patient while playing with the intensity. We had really good tempo in our game.

"We created chances and kept a clean sheet which is really important."

Super-sub: Timothy Weah played a key role in Celtic's win.
Super-sub: Timothy Weah played a key role in Celtic's win. SNS

Celtic defender Kris Ajer saw red late on for preventing Saints striker Callum Hendry from going through on goal - meaning the Norwegian will miss Wednesday's match against Hibs.

Mikael Lustig was replaced by debutant Jeremy Toljan at the break, while Odsonne Edouard was stretchered off after hurting his foot in a goalline challenge with Joe Shaugnessy.

Goalscorer Forrest also came off before the full-time whistle with a tight hamstring.

Rodgers - already without Kieran Tierney, Dedryck Boyata, Leigh Griffiths, Tom Rogic, Olivier Ntcham, Tony Ralston and Filip Benkovic for various reasons - will have to assess what he has at his disposal before Wednesday night's home game against Hibernian.

Rodgers, who had no complaints about Ajer's dismissal, said: "If you watch the replay again the boy Shaughnessy's stretching and his foot is accidental as Odsonne's gone to hit it.

"These modern boots are not so tough. It's just caught him right on the front of his foot so he's in a wee bit of pain but hopefully he will be okay.

"James is more of a worry, he felt his hamstring a bit tight. We had to play the last 10 minutes or so with 10 men. It was Ryan's ribs. He got a bang on the ribs, he could hardly breathe.

"Thankfully we added to the squad, which we needed to do, and we'll get some players back hopefully.

"We'll make do. We have some outstanding players who can play in those positions. We will assess it on Monday and see where we're at."

Wright takes the positives

St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright, who will face Celtic for a third time in quick succession when they meet in the Scottish Cup next weekend, noted improvement from the defeat at Parkhead.

"I'm obviously disappointed with the result again," he said. "But I asked for an improved performance and I thought I got that, especially in the first half.

"There were moments when we should have capitalised but we didn't do it.

"I thought we had weathered the storm but we made a mistake for the all-important first goal and then we are chasing the game.

"They then caught us on the counter but there are more positives today than Wednesday. It's still another defeat and we have to move on to midweek."

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