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I’m actually pleased- O’Neill jumps to the defence of pricky Rodgers

Martin O’Neill has jumped to the defence of Brendan Rodgers over the media storm that followed a post-match interview at Motherwell.

Two stoppage time goals delivered full points for Celtic to narrow the gap at the top of the Premiership table back to two points with 11 matches left to play including two Glasgow Derbies.

Jane Lewis of BBC Scotland was keen to question Rodgers on Celtic’s sub-standard first half performance while the hoops boss answered in more general terms with a focus on the positive and battling back to take full points after being behind at the interval.

It was fairly standard content, Lewis was keen to take the interview in one direction, Rodgers back towards more complimentary grounds after the drama of two priceless late goals.

Sensing that Lewis wasn’t giving way the Celtic boss mentioned that ‘we’ll write our own story’ which required very little explanation to anyone following the battle for the SPFL title.

With Celtic overtaken in top spot a week earlier, with the gap at five points at kick-off time at Fir Park the momentum was all at Ibrox with the back-to-back champions being written off in some areas of the media.

Lewis required an explanation for that development in the interview, sensing that he had better things to do with his time Rodgers politely wound up the interview with a ‘good girl’ reference, a bemused Lewis repeated that and quickly it was trending across social media.

O’Neill knows the unique pressures of management in a two horse race, of media attention and scrutiny, the pressures and demands of a job where second place rarely leads to a second chance.

Listening to the Irishman on TalkSPORT, Football Scotland reports O’Neill saying:

I think my take on that there is that Celtic have been dominant for so long that people start to think that Rangers have not only closed the gap but have actually gone past them.

You’re talking about the immediate aftermath of the game that Celtic have won by the way, didn’t play so well in the first half but then came roaring back and won the game.

The most important thing is the gap could have stayed at five points with level games suddenly and now it’s back to two.

From an outside viewpoint, it is actually good for the for the game in Scotland. However, I think what Brendan meant was that people are rushing to conclusions here or rush to judgement should say, that there almost the feeling that Rangers are going to overtake them this season and that they have their own story still to right.

I’m actually pleased as well too that he got a bit prickly. I’ve done interviews that I’ve regretted. And I have got to say I was really pleased that he got a bit prickly. I would have done the same thing.

Throughout Monday there has been more media attention given to two words from Rodgers than the two stoppage time goals scored by Celtic.

Tomorrow the media diary moves into preview mode with Celtic hosting Dundee on Wednesday night looking to build on their comeback at Motherwell.

Since Rodgers returned to Celtic BBC Scotland have been off the invite list but their contract with the SPFL means that they have to provide pre and post match one to one interviews to the BBC with their manager.

CLICK HERE for Rodgers full post match media conference.

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