BRENDAN RODGERS has hailed his Celtic players for their workrate and desire after overcoming Livingston with 10 men, saying that Daizen Maeda did the running of two players to compensate for their numerical disadvantage.

The Celtic manager was delighted with his men as they negotiated what has traditionally been a difficult venue with ease, particularly after Joe Hart’s first half dismissal made their task all the trickier.

And he had nothing but praise for the application of his players, particularly off the back of the defeat to Feyenoord during the week, where they played a chunk of the game with just nine men.

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“It was a monumental win, in terms of getting back in after playing with nine men during the week,” Rodgers said. 

“Livingston is a notoriously hard place to come anyway, never mind with ten men, so to play with that mentality was very good. 

“Attitude and energy you need and that is what we had. Great move for the penalty, our movement was excellent. 

“We go down to 10 men and then we always have a plan for that in terms of how we work, how we keep the calmness. I thought the players were outstanding. 

“Two really good goals in the second half. As I said to the guys, when you have Daizen Maeda, it is not like playing with ten men.  

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“He does the running of two men, he is absolutely incredible and I was so happy for him that he got his goal. He was so good on the day for us.

“When we were down to ten, he was playing up front and that is his best position. I have said that before.

“He is pressing and running in behind. He was there for Matty goal and I think he was unfortunate because the ball comes in and pops up and keeper then has to make the save.”

Reo Hatate got another hour for Celtic and looked sharper than he has of late as he continues to work his way back to full match fitness, but Rodgers says there is a lot more to come from him.

“He still has a bit to go, both in terms of fitness and his game,” he said.

“I think he can be a really top player if he looks after the ball better. In the final third of the pitch, he has his magic and he’s creative, but you can’t lose that many balls when you have that quality.

“But there’s no doubt he’s getting there, and his dynamism really helps us. It’s just about getting him up to the level.

“I don’t know if the new contract would help him. He knows he’s loved here, he knows he’s wanted, but at Celtic you have to produce and be consistent.

“But I really like him, he gives the team a really nice balance. There’s more to come from him.”