CELTIC MANAGER BRENDAN Rodgers hailed Moussa Dembele’s “personality and courage” after the striker scored a chipped penalty in his side’s 4-0 victory over Rangers in the Scottish Cup semi-final.
Tom Rogic struck after 22 minutes to get Celtic off the mark and their lead was doubled by Callum McGregor seven minutes before half-time.
Celtic converted two second-half penalties, scored by Dembele and Olivier Ntcham, as Rangers were reduced to 10 men in a one-sided encounter at Hampden Park.
Dembele has scored 15 goals in all competitions this season and Rodgers said the manner of his strike at Hampden Park underlined his confidence.
“I’m glad Moussa’s penalty went in,” Rodgers told reporters. ”I didn’t expect that. He’s very cool. He’s very calm.
“It takes a lot of personality and courage to take that kind of penalty but he was obviously confident that he was going to score.”
Rodgers praised the composure of his whole team as they secured Celtic’s place in the Scottish Cup final, where they will face Motherwell, who held them to a goalless draw at Fir Park in March.
“It was a very good game,” said Rodgers. “There was a real edge to the players’ game and composure.
“We wanted to get to the final but there’s always pressure. You can’t get away from it. When you play for Celtic or manage Celtic the expectations are huge.
“I think semi-finals are here to win and if you can play well, then great. Our idea is always to play well and I thought in the first half we were really dominant, in control and scored two good goals so I’m very pleased.”
Rodgers’ opposite number Graeme Murty told Sky Sports the sending-off of Ross McCrorie for a pull on Dembele tarnished the visitors’ hopes of turning the game around in the second half.
“I’m frustrated, I didn’t think we turned up in the first half,” Murty said. “The sending off changed the nature of what we wanted to do second-half.
“We just didn’t get close to anyone, it took half an hour to make a tackle. I will look at myself and learn from it.”