CELTIC manager Brendan Rodgers last night expressed sympathy with Graeme Murty after his side’s 4-0 William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final victory piled pressure on his Rangers counterpart.

Murty was subjected to abuse from the Ibrox club’s supporters as his team was thrashed at Hampden and his own players Andy Halliday and Daniel Candeias also reacted furiously to being substituted.

However, Rodgers feels his opposite number, who took over from Pedro Caixinha back in October and has only been given until the end of the season to prove himself, has done as well as he can be expected to in the circumstances.

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“Listen, my focus is only on Celtic, getting my players ready and prepared,” he said. “It’s a club that is about humility and respect, but I know Graeme has that as well. In these types of games there will be a bit of focus on the other manager of course.

“But he has done everything he possibly could. He has done a very good job there in his short time he has been in. But of course the losing team always has the spotlight shone on them.

“It is football management. Obviously, he is starting out his career. He has done a great job with the youth and development side. He has stepped in and it wasn’t that long ago everyone was talking about what a good job he had done.

“In football management you can’t be brilliant one game and then not be so good if you lose the next one. But they are tough to take.

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“Obviously they wanted the opportunity. The players themselves obviously felt confident after they beat Ayr 6-1. They felt this was maybe going to be the chance for them. I have empathy for every manager. It is a very difficult job.

“It’s easy to criticise a manager afterwards. We played well today and had a real edge to our game, which was good. We pressed it well and deserved to get to the final.”

Rodgers’s team is now just one game – the Scottish Cup final against Motherwell at Hampden next month – from becoming the first ever to complete a second successive domestic treble.

But the Northern Irishman insisted his players would concentrate full on winning the Ladbrokes Premiership with a triumph over Hibernian at Easter Road on Saturday and then finishing the league campaign strongly.

“I haven’t really thought about that,” he said. “I’m always one where the mantra is the next game. We are in the final now and that won’t be an easy game when you look at Motherwell. That’s two cups finals we’ll be playing them in this season.

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“That’s a totally different game again with their physicality and they are a very honest team that work very hard, But we know that when we turn up and play it gives us a great chance. But we know we have a job to do now.

“We have to finish off the league campaign. We are in a really good position there, but have five tough games to finish. But we want to finish the season well and be back here and look forward to the final with good confidence. The pitch was a wee bit bumpy today. I’m sure by that stage it will be a big slicker.”

Rodgers stretched his unbeaten run against Rangers since being appointed Celtic manager two years ago to 10 – his team has won eight and drawn just two of the matches they have played against the Govan club – and admitted he had been pleased with his side’s big game mentality since taking charge.

“We play so many games and we are never always going to be at our best,” he said. “But this season we’ve had a number of really good performances. In the big games, that’s the edge we look for.

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“What the players have done in the last couple of seasons has really inspired the supporters to believe they can actually achieve the impossible sometimes. We are very focused and geared up for all our games. When you get to these games, you know what’s at stake.

“It’s just a case of getting the players focused in the build-up, making sure they are clear on their jobs and then go and play their football.”

Rodgers added: “They are all very much special in their own way. I know what these games are all about and knowing how tense and how edgy they can be. Every game is different and I have enjoyed every single one.

“But, of course, when you get to the semi-final stage, where we were last year as well, and you win and there is something there at the end of it then it makes it extra special. But they are all great wins and it is a brilliant day for the supporters.

“It was very good. Semi-finals are there to be won but if you can also play well, then great. Our idea is always to play well and in the first half I thought we were really dominant and in control. We scored two very good goals and I was really pleased.”