Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers has defended his decision to substitute Moussa Dembele early on in the second-half of Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Aberdeen.
Dembele was replaced after 52 minutes, just after the Hoops had fallen behind to Andrew Consdine’s goal, with Leigh Griffiths getting some game time ahead of Saturday’s Scottish Cup Final v Motherwell.
“It’s a case of managing each game” he said, as quoted by the Daily Mail.
“I have to bear in mind that we have one fully-fit striker as such in terms of Moussa and we need to make sure he was fit. Thankfully he’s come through the game.
“We tried to get some minutes into Leigh, because between the two of them they are our two options really. It is a case of balancing with the other players. There are two ways you can go.
“You could rest them all but then you don’t play a game for two weeks and you can be undercooked.”
Griffiths and Dembele are the Hoops only fit strikers for the cup final, as Odsonne Edouard has a hamstring injury and the duo have had to deal with injury problems of their own recently.
Football Insider verdict
Rodgers was being sensible with his decision to replace Dembele, but it did have an effect on the game, as the Frenchman was one of the few Hoops players who was having a good game up until that moment. It should be said that Griffiths did well when he came on though, and was unlucky not to score a late equaliser for the Bhoys with a header which Aberdeen goalkeeper Joe Lewis saved onto the post. Looking ahead to the cup final team, it looks like Dembele will get the nod to start with Griffiths on the bench, a reversal of last year’s cup final against Aberdeen where Griffiths started and Dembele was on the bench after picking up a hamstring problem. Rodgers will be confident that both strikers are more than good enough to get the goals that will take the Hoops to cup final glory, they have done it before and there is no reason why they can’t do it again.
In other Celtic news, fans were critical of one player’s performance v Aberdeen