Celtic 1-0 Hamilton: Brendan Rodgers happy with winners' mentality

Leigh Griffiths and Moussa Dembele
Griffiths and Dembele played up front together for Celtic

Manager Brendan Rodgers admitted Celtic fell short of the standards they have set this season but praised the players' attitude in beating Hamilton.

Leigh Griffiths scored the only goal as the champions made it 10 Premiership victories in a row.

Celtic are now 11 points clear of nearest challengers Rangers.

"It wasn't at the level we've been for a lot of the season but the mentality of the players was very strong," Rodgers told BBC Scotland.

"We weren't as fluent as we normally are, the pitch is slow, it looks a little bit heavy so it affects the speed of our game. But we had chances to be a lot more comfortable.

"Of course when its 1-0 late in the game, they've got nothing to lose, but give credit to Hamilton, they played with a back five, a diamond in midfield with one up front and really condensed the space.

"They've conceded a lot of goals here in the past, so they were never going to come and open up, but it's up to us to break it down. We did break it down a number of times and we goat the important goal.

"Whenever you're a winning team, you have to have persistence and drive. The players have got that in spades. To stay focused on the game, we made so many passes, got into good areas, but failed with just that little bit of incision inside the box."

Hamilton went close with a late Eamonn Brophy shot
Hamilton went close with a late Eamonn Brophy shot

Rodgers played Griffiths and Moussa Dembele up front together, setting his side up in a 3-5-2 shape to allow the strikers to work as a duo. They combined for the only goal of the game, but otherwise lacked the cohesion of a well-practised partnership.

"It's collective, I'm not so worried about those two, I'm more worried about the team," Rodgers said. "We weren't as fluid with our positioning as we normally are, but both players worked hard. They've both got qualities, but I'm worried about the team rather than individuals.

"We were poor [coming out of defence towards the end], we gave the ball needlessly away. In our build up we weren't secure enough, we took a risk and we gave it away cheaply, but thankfully it didn't cost us.

"We're missing a lot of our real dynamic players in terms of James Forrest and Scott Sinclair, so we're having to find different ways to play. We'll analyse the game. Where we can do better, an look to be bette on Saturday."

Hamilton manager Martin Canning was happy with the industry and application of his side, and believes he saw enough in the narrow defeat, and in previous games against top four sides, to believe his team can take something from a run of games that sees them face Rangers on Friday, then Celtic again, then Aberdeen.

"We performed well and worked really hard, we were disciplined, kept our shape well and limited Celtic to not a lot," said Canning.

"We did what we hoped we could do, stay in the game for long enough to make the last 10, 15 minutes uncomfortable and give ourselves and opportunity to take something from the game. A couple of times we were unfortunate, we got into decent areas and didn't quite make the most of it.

"Scott McMann was magnificent for a young kid, it's his first time coming here, and Ross Cunningham comes on at the end as well. We need to build on that."