Brendan Rodgers explains decision to drop Craig Gordon for Aberdeen clash

Brendan Rodgers explains decision to drop Craig Gordon for Aberdeen clash

Brendan Rodgers claimed the controlling nature of goalkeeper Dorus de Vries lay behind the Celtic manager dropping Craig Gordon for the Hoops' 4-1 win over Aberdeen at Parkhead.

The Celtic boss gave a debut to 35-year-old Dutchman De Vries, who recently signed a two-year deal from Nottingham Forest having worked with Rodgers at Swansea.

And although he was beaten by an Adam Rooney strike after Leigh Griffiths had opened the scoring in the first half it mattered little as the home side stormed to the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership table.

Midfielder James Forrest restored Celtic's lead in the 42nd minute and with three minutes remaining Scott Sinclair grabbed the third with a penalty with Dons defender Mark Reynolds sent off for picking up a second yellow card after bringing him down. Midfielder Tom Rogic added a last-gasp fourth.

Rodgers said: "I always say my teams need to play with control from behind in order for us to play how I want us to play and have that speed and domination in the game.

"And I thought Dorus came in and did very well.

"He had one loose pass but apart from that, he is able to orchestrate the game from behind.

"But overall I thought he and the team were outstanding.

"I just always think if you can control the game and build the game from behind well, then you will control and build in other areas.

"The quicker it goes forward from behind the quicker it comes back at you, and that has always been my thought.

"I want to reiterate, Craig Gordon has been fantastic since he came here.

"In fairness to him, there has been a lot of unfair focus on him.

"Dorus knows how I work inside out and I am sure Craig Gordon will get an opportunity again.

"Whether that comes the next game, or after, he will be better for this way of working."

After Griffiths opened the scoring with a terrific strike from outside the box to take his tally for the season to seven he ran the length of the park and behind De Vries' goal to hold up a t-shirt with RIP Kieran and the number 13 on it.

The gesture was in tribute to teenage Celtic fan Kieran McDade who died while training with his local team in Coatbridge last week.

Griffiths said: "I was going to put it behind the other goal but it was a fitting tribute going behind our goal and thankfully I scored in the 13th minute, the boy's age.

"It is a real shame for the family.

"They came into the reception and I have to give the gaffer and everyone credit for allowing that to happen before the game.

"They met the manager and a few players and they managed to enjoy the game and hopefully the wee man is up in the sky looking down and smiling that we got three points."

Dons boss Derek McInnes questioned a couple of late decisions by referee Bobby Madden which be believes resulted in a "harsh" scoreline.

He said: "At 1-1 and even at 2-1 we looked the team most likely to get the next goal.

"For all Celtic's movement was excellent in that first half, I still thought we were causing them a lot of problems when we went a bit more aggressive against them.

"At 2-1 I was pleased with what we were doing.

"We brought a couple of strikers on to have a good go in the last 10 minutes and then the referee gets involved and gives a penalty kick.

"Sinclair is never in control of himself, he is on the way down from about 10 yards, he is never going to stay on his feet.

"And he gives a free-kick for Rogic when he over-runs the ball and falls down and they take full advantage of it because they have got quality.

"So I think a couple of moments have impacted on the result, 4-1 was really harsh on the team but Celtic have got the players who can punish."

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