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PA Wire/PA Images Daly and Rodgers on the touchline earlier.
# War of Words
Hearts boss Daly labels Rodgers 'an absolute disgrace'
Following his side’s 4-1 defeat at Celtic Park, the Dubliner took aim at his counterpart.

BRENDAN RODGERS WAS labelled an “absolute disgrace” by fuming Hearts boss Jon Daly after the Celtic chief’s comments about the Edinburgh club’s managerial upheaval.

Hearts interim coach Daly was furious with Rodgers for his pre-match criticism of the departure of former Jambos boss Ian Cathro.

Rodgers slammed the Hearts hierarchy, specifically their recruitment policy, as he expressed sympathy for Cathro, who worked under director of football Craig Levein, after he was sacked this week only seven months in the job.

“It always seemed a bit confused for me in terms of what he wanted, and maybe what other people wanted,” Rodgers told the media.

“You know, you’re trying to play football and you’re bringing in players who play a direct game. So, it makes me ask about where the players are coming from? And if they’re his?”

But following his side’s 4-1 defeat at Parkhead on Saturday, Daly, who previously worked as Hearts U20s coach, took aim at the Celtic boss.

“I can understand his comments about the manager leaving because we don’t want to see managers lose their jobs,” the former Rangers player said.

“However, once he starts to talk about recruitment of players and how they will fit into the system then I think it’s very poor form. I think a manager of his calibre should know better.

“To comment on it when he knows nothing about our structure is an absolute disgrace. It’s very disrespectful.”

However, Rodgers attempted to defuse the row and said he had no problem with Hearts or Daly.

“For me there is no issue with it and there is no drama,” he said. “My focus was on the game and my empathy was for the former manager, Ian Cathro.

“Like I said when I first came up here, I will always be open. I will say what I think and then move on.

Celtic v Heart of Midlothian - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership - Celtic Park Ian Rutherford Leigh Griffiths scored twice on the opening day of the season. Ian Rutherford

“It is a good club, Hearts, and I’m sure they will get the solution for the next job and they will look to push on.”

Once that controversy died down, Rodgers claimed Celtic had laid down an early marker to the rest of the Scottish Premiership with their opening day thrashing of Hearts.

Rodgers’ side, who collected a treble last season as they finished the campaign unbeaten domestically, ground Hearts down with a double from Leigh Griffiths and strikes from Scott Sinclair and Callum McGregor before Isma Goncalves bagged a late consolation at Parkhead on Saturday.

Rodgers, whose side face Kilmarnock in the League Cup on Tuesday, was delighted to see the Scottish champions start the new campaign with such an emphatic victory.

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“It was a very good performance on the back of our European game in midweek,” he said.

“We wanted to put a statement down in our very first game.

“I thought the players were outstanding in all elements of our game.

“We had to be patient as I thought Hearts set up very well. We scored four and we maybe could have had a few more.”

Rangers will attempt to keep pace with their Old Firm rivals when they kick-off their league campaign away to Motherwell on Sunday, while Aberdeen host Hamilton.

© AFP 2017

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