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Integrity- Brendan Rodgers focuses on Ibrox issue

Brendan Rodgers made a fairly clear play on the word Integrity as he faced the media at Lennoxtown yesterday.

While Philippe Clement went on a rant earlier in the week to defend Fabio Silva from the tamest of questioning the Celtic boss controlled Friday’s media conference from the snipers looking to drag him into all sorts of issues from the Dens Park pitch to the post split fixtures.

There was no dramatics from Rodgers’ squad as they stood up to their immediate opponents, 50,000 hate-filled fans and the consistently inconsistent refereeing of John Beaton, a feature that almost all Celtic fans predicted as soon as the SFA announced his appointment.

Coins were thrown at the Celtic dug-out during the match, striking John Kennedy with a Buckfast bottle aimed at Matt O’Riley after he scored Celtic’s second goal.

Not a single statement has been raised by the SFA, SPFL or the host club.

Do you feel the team is in a good place after Sunday?

Rodgers: Yes, very good. I was really pleased at the time and after coming away and analysing the game logically as well. I thought the integrity of the team, how they played and how they conducted themselves in the game was absolutely fantastic. From the start of the game, we were attack-minded.

We had to go through moments of pressure and that is when you really need to dig in and bite on the gumshield and take it. We did that very, very well. We came through that and looked like we could win the game. I was so, so pleased. I always maintain it is the hardest place to go as a Celtic player when you go to Ibrox, especially with no supporters.

To go there and deliver that performance which highlighted lots of good parts of our game with and without the ball. We know we have lots of difficult fixtures to come but when that fixture comes round again, the energy of 60,000 people and what that will give us at home makes me think that we are in a really good place.

There were a couple of off-the-pitch incidents. A bottle was thrown at Matt (O’Riley) and coins were launched at the dugout. How concerning is that?

Rodgers: That is exactly what I said. I think the integrity of the team on the field and the staff off of it was exemplary. That’s what we want. These situations off the pitch are not ideal. Our integrity off it was superb.

No questions were asked about the ‘strange’ performance of John Beaton who made Celtic the dirtiest team in the UK at the weekend.

A total of 23 fouls were awarded against Celtic at Ibrox with just 10 against the home side, one of them most reluctantly when Beaton was forced to review Tom Lawrence’s foul on Tomoki Iwata that ended with Cyriel Dessers putting the ball in the net.

Across legacy media, with the exceptions of Chris Sutton and Mikey Stewart Beaton has been praised for his performance, apparently he got all of the big decisions right, one way or another.

The yellow card and foul count however tells a different story, Celtic went into the match with 29 yellow cards from 31 SPFL matches and picked them up at four times their average during the 90 plus minutes at Ibrox.

Three of those yellow cards were given out during a first half that the away team dominated while their opponents weren’t punished in any way.

During the second half it was clear that Philippe Clement’s side had licence to do as they please, fortunately Celtic came away with a point and knowing that they are still in control of their title destiny.

CLIICK HERE for the Crawford Allan rumours.

CLICK HERE for Clement’s defence of Silva.

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