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The National (Scotland)
The National (Scotland)
Sport
Graeme McGarry

Brendan Rodgers sings praises of Oh as Celtic striker gets his reward

CELTIC manager Brendan Rodgers has praised the professionalism of Oh after the forward climbed off the bench and seized his opportunity to give the champions a hard-fought win over an impressive St Mirren outfit.

The striker has had to be patient as he searches for regular game time, but he popped up with seven minutes of normal time remaining at Celtic Park to slam the ball high past Zach Hemming and claim a victory that looked for long spells as though it may not be coming.

Rodgers was delighted for the South Korean forward to have finally gotten his reward for the way he has conducted himself of late, the winner here being his first goal of the season.

“It was a great finish,” Rodgers said.

“Nice little very combination with Kyogo (Furuhashi) and Odin (Thiago Holm) can shoot if he’s selfish. But he plays a lovely pass in and the big guy takes his touch and it’s a wonderful finish.

“I’m really pleased for him. For the guys who aren’t playing so much, you always have to recognise and acknowledge their efforts, which I do with them.

“He looks after his body, his diet, everything is superb. He’s so professional, he looks at his training and he knows when asked upon he can come in and make an impact. And what an impact.

“It’s always difficult for the guys who are playing behind. But all they can do is maintain a strong mentality.

“That sort of second striker playing behind a top striker…it’s a tough ask but everything about him is very good…apart from taking corners!”

That last crack was inspired by Oh slamming the ball into the box late on when he should have kept it in the corner, an indication of the tightness of the encounter.

David Turnbull had earlier dragged Celtic level after Conor McMenamin’s well-taken opener, and Rodgers was pleased for the midfielder too after a recent difficult spell, even though he went on to miss a penalty.

“It’s about the squad,” he said.

“When you are playing the number if games that we are in close proximity, and everyone wants to beat a champion, every team will raise their game, you know that you have to rely on your squad.

“Some of our players who’ve been regular have been outstanding this season looked a wee bit leggy. That’s the beauty of being able to call on the guys to come in.

“Odin was fresh and bright. David also scored a super goal. He maybe rushed his penalty, you just have to take your time and finish it.

“But the team reacted so well to that.”

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