Top Line Summary

  • Addresses the side's poor performance
  • Delighted for Daizen Maeda
  • Injury update for Nicolas Kuhn
  • James Forrest's late impact

Everything Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers said to the media after his side's 4-2 win over Livingston in the Scottish Cup...

Sum up that 90 minutes, if you can?

We got there in the end. The scoreline makes it look more comfortable than it actually was. Credit to my players, but we didn’t perform anywhere near the level that we would want to. Some good individual performances within that, and the players kept going to the very end which was really great. Daizen (Maeda) getting his hattrick which is always nice. A lot of our creative play came down the right side, and Daizen finished it off on the left side. A big compliment to Livingston, because it’s been a difficult season for them. They came here and made it really difficult for us and scored a couple of goals and put on a real challenge, which we had to overcome.

Is it difficult to keep answering the same questions about how you get to that next level, about how you make it a bit easier for yourself in games like this? 

I know what it is. If you’re missing key players and the levels of players that we miss then the football won’t smile the same. Once we get those players back, then I’m pretty sure the performances will improve.

READ MORE: Player Ratings: Maeda the centurion’s hat-trick seals Celtic’s semi-final place

100 games for Maeda. First hat-trick as well. With key players missing, how important is his contributions, coming in and having a game like that?

It was great. He gives so much. Against the ball, he’s pressing and contributing with work rate and intensity, but it’s really nice for him to get the goals. All instinctive, runs that really hurt teams. It’s easy for players to get the ball to their feet but all of his were runs and movements to get there, and he finished them really well.

Nicolas Kühn, was it a hamstring injury he came off with?

He just felt a bit of tightness. He’s obviously not played a great deal. That was much more like what we would expect from him in the game, more direct, more running and aggression, so that was nice. Then, my joy was complete when James Forrest came on because just seeing that quality with how he receives and takes the ball was great to see.

Gives you more food for thought?

Listen, James is the best winger we have, with the greatest respect. It’s just that intensity that we ask in the game in constant runs and constant pressure. 

Can he get that back, or is it an age thing? 

Sadly, age catches up with every player, with intensity or with every person for that matter! He still has a contribution to make and you saw that level when he came into the game with 25 minutes to go, and the quality that he has. He’s a fantastic player and just the joy of seeing him come in and seeing how he kept the ball and how he worked it was really good.