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Rodgers Celtic boss delighted by fringe benefits

A win on Wednesday extended Celtic's lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership to seven points with a game in hand

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Celtic's Northern Irish manager Brendan Rodgers speaks during a press conference at Celtic Park stadium in Glasgow play

Celtic's Northern Irish manager Brendan Rodgers speaks during a press conference at Celtic Park stadium in Glasgow

(AFP/File)

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers declared himself delighted with the strength of his squad after a side packed with fringe players helped the Hoops to a 4-0 win over Ross County on Wednesday.

The Hoops made eight changes from the starting 11 who defeated rivals Rangers in their League Cup semi-final clash on Sunday.

Only Craig Gordon, Mikel Lustig and Erik Sviatchenko survived as Rodgers utilised his squad ahead of crunch clashes with Aberdeen and Borussia Monchengladbach within the next seven days.

Patrick Roberts gave Celtic a second minute lead before a late goal rush saw Stuart Armstrong and substitutes Scott Sinclair and Moussa Dembele round off the scoring.

The win -- their eighth in nine league games -- extended Celtic's lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership to seven points with a game in hand over nearest rivals Aberdeen, whom the Hoops face at Pittodrie on Saturday.

"Our thinking going into the game tonight was that prior to this we had played a lot of games," Rodgers said.

"I've got great trust in my players because I see them every day and they're working very hard. In terms of our methods of how we play they have to work intensely in training because if they can't do that then you can't put them into the game.

"Even with all the changes I thought we were great. Some of the guys come into the game having not played for a while and I thought they were outstanding.

"The intensity I ask the players to play at needs to be at a high level with that variety in the game and the young players that came in delivered.

"Emilio Izaguirre and guys like that haven?t played for a long time and I thought they were outstanding. Ryan Christie came in and did very well and young Patrick Roberts has been out of it for a while but showed his qualities tonight in creating and scoring goals.

"It was a very pleasing performance with so many chances and again it shows the depth of the squad.

"The rest of the players will be fresh for the game at the weekend. That was the plan for tonight so it couldn?t have gone any better."

Ross County had a number of chances to equalise before Celtic's late goals added some gloss to their victory and Rodgers praised his side's opponents.

"It was a very tough game for us. Ross County are one of the best teams we have played," the former Liverpool boss said.

"But I thought our attacking play was very strong and defensively I thought we were excellent as well.

"When it is 1-0 you always have to be careful with the ball and obviously defensively. But again our fitness came into the game along with our physicality.

"The intensity and tempo of the game got us our goals late on. It was 4-0 and we kept a clean sheet but we had to fight all the way right to the end."

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