Football/Soccer

Brendan Rodgers brushes off Rangers' claims

Rangers chairman Dave King claims that Celtic's dominance of Scottish soccer could collapse like a pack of cards if Rangers can win one title
By Ronnie Esplin, Press Association Sport

Ladbrokes Premiership: Celtic v Kilmarnock (Wednesday, 7.45pm)

BRENDAN Rodgers was not too concerned over Rangers chairman Dave King's claim that Celtic's domination would collapse like "a pack of cards" if the Light Blues won the title and qualified for the Champions League.

The Hoops secured their seventh successive Ladbrokes Premiership title recently and are on course for an unprecedented successive domestic treble.

King, who announced in a media briefing on Monday that the Ibrox club would be having a new share issue which would raise £6million in new money, was also quoted as saying: "We only need one league. We don't need two or three. We need one. Once we take one away, it's a pack of cards."

However, ahead of the Premiership clash with Kilmarnock on Wednesday night, Celtic boss Rodgers said:

"We always respect every team and every club but I am not one to be looking over the fence at anyone else.

"We have to be defined by what we do and I could not be happier here with how the club is developing and improving – but we always have to be better.

"I don't think of it too seriously either way to be honest. My focus is on Celtic, this is a huge job here and a big enough.

"You always have to be aware of your competitors, you can't be naive enough to not understand and have a little think of what the others are doing but it is not something that is at the forefront of my mind."

Rodgers revealed that striker Odsonne Edouard is all but certain to miss the May 19 William Hill Scottish Cup final against Motherwell with a hamstring injury sustained in Sunday's 3-1 victory over Hearts.

The Carnlough man more or less laughed off Jambos boss Craig Levein's assertion that he could "bleat all he wants" about the Tynecastle pitch.

Rodgers claimed he was "embarrassed" by the surface, claiming that the length of the grass had forced him to play a more direct style of football.

"I was bleating," said the Parkhead boss. "I have got a lot of time for Craig. I don't know him that well but the times I have spoken to him after games I have enjoyed his company. I had a laugh with him after the game on it.

"But there is no right or wrong. It is my opinion and Craig will have his of course and he should have.

"I want the best quality game. I feel for people watching the game and the quality. I am not one to just be happy to win the game."

The former Liverpool manager revealed striker Leigh Griffiths would join Edouard on the sidelines for the visit of Killie but is likely to be back for this weekend's game against Aberdeen.

However, he was less positive about the 20-year-old French striker, on loan from Paris St Germain, although he confirmed there were "talks going on behind the scenes" about making the move permanent.

Rodgers said: "He will probably struggle for (the cup final) next weekend.

"He has had his scan and it has been unfortunate for him as he has got better and better as the season has gone on. But he is probably going to struggle between now and the end of the season.

"Leigh wasn't well last week, he has been ill and he is back now. He won't be available for tomorrow but should be joining training Thursday or Friday."

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