Brendan Rodgers: Celtic were outstanding in victory over Hearts

Brendan Rodgers lauded Celtic as “outstanding” after they thrashed Hearts 5-0 to go within a point of the Scottish Premiership leaders.

Odsonne Edouard grabbed a first-half double, one either side of Filip Benkovic’s first goal for the home side, and further goals after the break from winger James Forrest and Ryan Christie, from the spot, sealed a commanding victory.

The double-treble winners beat Hearts 3-0 in last Sunday’s Scottish League Cup semi-final at Murrayfield before demolishing Dundee 5-0 in the league on Wednesday, and their mauling of the Jambos took their goal tally to 23 in their last five domestic games.

Rodgers said: “It was a great victory for us in terms of a win and performance level, it was fantastic.

“The game today and this week showed the level these players have been at domestically for the last two-and-a-half years.

“We have taken hits in Europe and there is never a midweek when we don’t have a game, but to keep coming back and having that hunger against a good Hearts team – Craig Levein has done great for Hearts and they have started the season well – we played really well against them last week and today we were excellent.

“We scored five and with a final pass we could have had more. So an outstanding team performance.”

Edouard, who signed from Paris St-Germain in the summer for a reported £9million fee, after a loan spell at the Parkhead club, now has 11 goals this season.

However, Rodgers insists the 20-year-old brings more than goals to his team.

He said: “The boy has scored consistently since he came here. It is not just that, it is what else he gives the team. He gives us so much and on top of that he presses the game.

“There is not a big demand from me to only score goals, he needs to press the game like I ask my strikers to do and from that we will always make chances and then it is up to him to take them.”

Levein was self-critical when asked for his assessment of the game, which followed a goalless draw with Edinburgh rivals Hibernian in midweek.

He said: “The manager is an idiot. With all the high-profile games we have had, I thought our energy
level were beginning to wane.

“I made the decision to try to sit in, frustrate Celtic and hit them on the counter-attack but I got that one wrong, eh?

“I’ve done the players a disservice. I think we had more energy and once you set out that way it is very difficult to change it until you get to half-time.

“I felt much better in the second half. I know we lost two goals but at least we were in the game and had opportunities.

“Put that one down to me.”

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