Hoops boss Rodgers. Andrew Milligan

Rodgers praises players as Celtic hit 100 points despite Irish winger's stunning strike

The Scottish Premiership champions were 3-1 winners over second-placed Aberdeen last night with Jonny Hayes on target for the Dons.

CELTIC MANAGER BRENDAN Rodgers said he was proud of his side’s defensive performance as they defeated second-place Aberdeen 3-1 on Friday to maintain their unbeaten run and hit 100 points.

The champions raced into a three-goal lead at Pittodrie after just 11 minutes thanks to quick-fire goals from Dedryck Boyata, Stuart Armstrong and Leigh Griffiths.

However, Ireland international Jonny Hayes pulled one backed a minute later with an unstoppable hit to inspire an Aberdeen revival — with the Dons spurning a number of opportunities to reduce the deficit.

And Rodgers, whose side moved 30 points clear of the Dons as they reached the 100 point mark in the Scottish Premiership, was happy to see his side dig deep defensively to seal their 44th match unbeaten this season.

“They got a goal and then the context of the game changed a wee bit as they got some momentum and it’s very difficult to play against that,” Rodgers said.

“It was a constant long ball, but I thought we defended so well and I’m really proud of the team. We’ve shown many times this season that we can play great football, but tonight they had to show they were proper men and defend.

I just thought defensively we were magnificent to cope with them. Aberdeen are a very strong side at home in particular so it was a great win for us.”

SPFL / YouTube

The two sides are due to meet again in the Scottish Cup final on 27 May, but Rodgers claims this result won’t have any bearing on the match at Hampden as the Hoops chase a treble.

“That’s four times we’ve played Aberdeen now and they’ve played different ways. When you play teams so often teams have to come up with different solutions to try and play against us but we keep finding the answers,” he said.

“It will be totally different game. There’s a nice pitch at Hampden and we know that we can score goals. We will go into the game with confidence.”

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes was happy with his side’s reaction after a bewildering start.

Jonny gave us a bit of inspiration and then thought for 80 minutes we played exactly the way we wanted,” McInnes said.

“They needed to know we were taking them on, and we took them on. But for that 10 minutes, we could have won the game.

“As bizarre as it sounds, that you can’t give Celtic a three-goal start and expect to get anything, we had chance after chance and we could have.

“I think the game will make us more confident going into the final, even though we’ve lost.”

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