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Brendan Rodgers heaps praise on Celtic match-winner Leigh Griffiths

Celtic's Leigh Griffiths celebrates his winner against Rosenborg
By Ronnie Esplin, Press Association Sport

Uefa Europa League Group B: Celtic 1 Rosenborg 0

BRENDAN Rodgers hailed Leigh Griffiths for doing what he does best after the striker climbed off the bench to score a late winner for Celtic in their 1-0 Europa League Group B win over Rosenborg at Parkhead.

The Scottish champions struggled until the 87th minute when the Scotland international, on for Odsonne Edouard, headed in a Dedryck Boyata knockdown for three points that had looked like escaping them.

Griffiths, who recently signed a new four-year contract with the club, had been left out of the Scotland team by manager Alex McLeish for the Nations League opener with Albania, with Rodgers looking for improvement.

However, after the timely winner from Griffiths, the Carnlough man said: "It is not just Leigh, every player needs to improve, every player has the responsibility to get better, especially at the top end of the field.

"What we know with Leigh is he can score goals so you fancy him in a game like that, if there is a chance he can take it and it was the only chance he had in the game.

"He read the ball into the box, anticipated it and it was a great finish.

"I love working with him. He is vital to this club and squad because whether he plays or is on the bench, he wants to play for Celtic, he has that hunger.

"Nights like tonight is brilliant for him. He knows when he comes on the pitch, if he gets a chance there is a big chance he will score and we need that in the team. He is 28, he signed a four-year deal.

"We still think there is more improvement that he can make but not just him, the rest of the players as well.

"So delighted for him and all the players and it is the first three points in the group stage."

Celtic recorded an opening group stage win for the first time in 15 attempts.

Rodgers said: "It was against a Rosenborg team who had won nine and drawn two so they came here with a real confidence.

"They surprised us a little bit for the first 20 minutes, played a diamond and they had never played that when we had analysed them but once we found the balance to play against that we started to come into the game.

"Without being at the top of the game we kept going. I said to the players that we had to find a way to win and the players did that."

Rosenborg boss Rini Coolen described his side's performance as "good but not good enough."

He said: "We are disappointed to lose the game. We deserved a little bit more. We had a different game-plan and the execution was okay. It is a mixed feeling, disappointed but happy and proud."

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